How Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal could line up next season with £30million Fabio Vieira on his way to north London… and top targets Youri Tielemans and Gabriel Jesus still in his crosshairs
- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is looking to make big changes this summer
- The Gunners have already signed Portuguese rising star Fabio Vieira for £30m
- His arrival adds to an attacking line-up already brimming with young talent
- But Arteta is not finished, with Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans in his sights
Mikel Arteta has made a serious statement of intent in this summer transfer window by signing £30million Portuguese star Fabio Vieira, and the Arsenal boss is showing no signs of stopping there.
Given the backing of his board to overhaul his squad, Arteta has wasted no time in making plain he wants several top players to bolster his Gunners squad.
Vieira’s arrival has Gunners fans dreaming of a place at the Premier League’s top table once again, having devastatingly missed out on Champions League football to their bitter rivals Tottenham.
Mikel Arteta is set to make significant changes to his Arsenal squad this summer
With several established players set to leave the Emirates, this summer could see the building of a very different Arsenal team than that which kicked-off last season’s Premier League.
With the potential for a highly-attacking, high-energy first team on the cards, Sportsmail takes you through how Arteta’s side could line up from August 6.
There is no real contest here, in that last summer’s signing Aaron Ramsdale has firmly established himself as Arteta’s No 1.
Aaron Ramsdale has firmly ensconced himself as Arsenal’s No 1 after a successful first season
Bernd Leno has made no secret of his frustration at being sidelined and Fulham are interested in snapping him up, with USA international Matt Turner arriving to replace him. Arthur Okonkwo, just 20 years old, is every inch the academy back-up.
Arteta has rarely had the luxury of deploying what would be his first choice defence given the spate of injuries they have suffered, in particular Scotland star Kieran Tierney. But the Arsenal boss focused on bolstering his defence last summer and it now looks fairly settled.
Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares have shown they are not good enough to compete at the elite level, so Tierney easily slots back in to give Arsenal width and attacking bite from the back.
A fully fit Kieran Tierney is no question first-choice left back, given his fine attacking skills
Takehiro Tomiyasu proved himself to be a more than capable right-back when called upon
Given the promise shown in the burgeoning central defensive partnership of Ben White and Gabriel, Japan’s Takehiro Tomiyasu moves to right-back, where he has proved more than capable despite being regarded as a centre-back first.
Tierney, Gabriel, White, Tomiyasu
Here is where Arteta’s first questions come up. Securing a solid defensive base for his plethora of flying young attackers is key to his style of play, and underpinning that is Thomas Partey.
Unfortunately Partey has spent a lot of time on the sidelines injured, meaning Granit Xhaka has been partnered mostly by Mohamed Elneny, who impressed towards the end of last season but has never managed to nail down a regular place since arriving in 2016.
Arteta is pressing hard to lure Leicester’s Youri Tielemans to partner Thomas Partey in midfield
Xhaka is also expected to finally leave for Roma this summer, leaving a big gap next to Partey on the team sheet.
But this is why Arteta has been linked to so many central midfielders – Yves Bissouma, Ruben Neves and Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to name a few – but he appears most keen on Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, who would complement Partey’s disruptive skills.
Easily Arteta’s biggest headache or opportunity, depending on the mood he is in. He already had a phalanx of exciting young talent in Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli before the arrival of Vieira.
Fabio Vieira’s arrival has delighted Arsenal fans and he looks set to start in an attacking role
The prospect of Vieira combining with Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka is mouthwatering
Deciding on his best combination was Arteta’s greatest challenge last season, with each player having outstanding performances on various occasions. However it was clear the young guns faded badly towards the business end and it cost them Champions League football.
Smith Rowe was arguably the biggest culprit in this regard, so he will likely continue as an impact substitution. Vieira has to start, having impressed so much for Porto, and Saka is a firm fan, Arteta and Gareth Southgate favourite so he is nailed on.
The prospect of both Vieira and Odegaard pulling the strings in the middle, and then weaving in and out of position with Saka once they are bedded in is a mouthwatering prospect, and the best fit for the free-flowing attacking football Arteta is after.
Vieira, Odegaard, Saka
Arteta clearly believes Gabriel Jesus could be the answer to Arsenal’s goalscoring problems
That leaves one spot up front, where the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette leave big shoes to fill. Arteta still seems unsure of Eddie Nketiah, who has made plain his desire to look elsewhere if he doesn’t get first-team football.
Gabriel Martinelli is another option as a straight No 9, though Arteta has tended to deploy him from wide when he comes on. Enter the Arsenal boss’s final big target for the summer: Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian has Premier League title-winning pedigree, and has proven his versatility at Manchester City across the front line.
But his goalscoring exploits have been hindered by not being given the No 9 role under Pep Guardiola, something Arteta is looking to change should he land his man, and the arrival of Erling Haaland makes a move look more appealing.
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