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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must build team around six players with five gaps to fill


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has the basis of a good team and must build his side around a crop of six current players. However, there are positions that need addressing heading into the summer transfer window, as well as spots where there is plenty of competition for places. Express Sport picks the current Arsenal players Arteta can depend on and the areas of the pitch which need recruitment.

Goalkeeper – Bernd Leno

Bernd Leno has had a couple of dodgy moments in recent weeks, especially when playing out from the back.

The German was also at fault for West Ham’s second goal in the 3-3 draw at the London Stadium last time out.

But Leno has saved Arsenal on numerous occasions this season and will keep his spot as No 1 next term.

A limited budget means signing a new first-choice goalkeeper will not be Arteta’s priority.

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Right centre-back – new signing or loanee

Arsenal have a number of players who can play as the right-sided centre-back.

David Luiz and Rob Holding have played there for the majority of this season but have both had their critics.

The Gunners were linked with RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate, though he now looks set to join Liverpool instead.

Arteta needs to upgrade in this area, unless either of Konstantinos Mavropanos or William Saliba, who are both currently out on loan, can fill the void.

Left-back – Kieran Tierney

Kieran Tierney is a future Arsenal captain and the club’s left-back for the next five years at least.

The Scotland international has been one of the best performers in his position in the Premier League this season.

Signing a back-up for Tierney will be a target for Arteta in the summer.

However, as long as he can stay fit, Arteta knows he can rely on the former Celtic star.

Right centre-midfield – Thomas Partey

One of the midfield positions will be taken up by Partey.

His first season has been blighted by injury but he has shown when fit why Arsenal activated his £45million release clause last summer.

Partey is the type of player Arsenal have needed for years, now they need him to stay fit.

Left centre-midfield – new signing

Granit Xhaka has run his course as a regular starter in the Arsenal midfield.

The Switzerland international joined in 2016 but has failed to endear himself with the majority of supporters.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Real Betis star Guido Rodriguez, with Brighton’s Yves Bissouma also on the club’s radar.

Central attacking midfield – Emile Smith Rowe

This position depends largely on whether Arsenal can keep Martin Odegaard next season.

Smith Rowe has performed well both in the No 10 role and on the left of the attack.

The academy graduate has been key to Arsenal’s recent success, whatever position he has played in.

Right-wing – Bukayo Saka

Saka is one of the first names on the team sheet for Arteta and he doesn’t turn 20 into September.

Arteta must protect the teenager, with signs of tiredness creeping in in recent weeks.

But he has made the right-hand side his own and could stay there for a number of years.

Left-wing – available

The left-hand side is up for grabs, with a number of players competing for the spot.

Again, if Odegaard was to stay then Smith Rowe could take up this position.

Neither Nicolas Pepe or Willian have done enough this season to prove they deserve a long run in the side.

Gabriel Martinelli is vying for a starting spot, though could also play as the No 9.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to do more to keep his place in the side.

Striker – new signing

With Alexandre Lacazette’s future at the club looking doubtful, Arsenal could bring in a new centre-forward.

Aubameyang does not suit the position in Arteta’s style of play.

Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Red Bull Salzburg’s Patson Daka have been linked.


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