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How Arsenal strengthen their squad in the summer will determine the future of Arsenal and manager, Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners could still have a very successful season if they can finish second in the Premier League and retain the FA Cup, despite their disappointing draw against Chelsea.

Arsenal’s crucial transfer window - Make or breakThe north-London side are only a few signings away from being genuine title contenders, and in contrast, are a bad transfer window away from being left behind by their rivals.

With Manchester City collapsing in the second half of the campaign and Manchester United in a rebuilding process, Arsenal have creeped into second place in the league but that should not tempt Wenger into thinking this Arsenal squad is strong enough to win the title next time round. Chelsea have still very much dominated the league this year and they will most definitely strengthen this summer, as will the money-giants in Manchester, so it is crucial that Arsenal stay in touch with their rivals and further improve their squad, or they could miss out on top four. But as you’ll soon find out, that won’t be enough next season…

A cause for concern for Arsenal and all the top teams in England is the progress Serie A teams have made in Europe this season. With Juventus reaching the Champions League semi-final and fellow Italian clubs Napoli and Fiorentina reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League, the Serie A could overtake the Premier League in UEFA’s league rankings.

English teams have had poor campaigns in Europe in recent seasons with Chelsea being the last English side to win or even reach a semi-final in a European competition. As a result, the Bundesliga and Serie A could surpass the Premier League next season which would result in the number of Champions League places in the EPL being reduced to just three.

Arsenal have been notorious for consistently finishing fourth in the league over the last decade whilst reaping the benefits of European football but these recent developments could put that in jeopardy.

With UEFA recently announcing that the Champions League 2016 seedings will be based upon league positions from the previous season, rather than past success in the competition, Arsenal could be drawn against a league winner such as a Bayern Munich, Barcelona or PSG in the group stages, although league positions are not final as of yet. Arsenal need world-class players in their squad so they can beat the very best teams and they haven’t had that in recent seasons which is why they have often struggled against the giants of Europe.

The current Arsenal squad is still a very strong one, but it is not good enough to be winning league titles or Champions Leagues. The very best in England and across the continent have two things; a strong spine and strength in depth.

The spine of a team; a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a central midfielder and a striker is crucial to any team but for the likes of Arsenal who are competing for major honours, their spine is simply not good enough.

Whilst David Ospina has made an impressive start to his Arsenal career it is still questionable whether he is up there with the very best, and the very best is what Arsenal should be attracting. Wenger needs a leader between the sticks to guide a young Arsenal defence. Petr Cech would be ideal but it is unlikely he’d make a switch from London-rivals Chelsea. With David de Gea flirting with a move to Real Madrid, many reports have confirmed that Iker Casillas has chosen Arsenal as his next destination. Despite a dip in-form in the last few seasons, what the Spaniard brings off the pitch; leadership and professionalism, would make him a top signing.

A centre-back should be a main priority for Arsene Wenger this summer. Whilst Laurent Koscielny seems to keep getting better after every passing season, Per Mertesacker is still a major weak-link for this Arsenal team and needs improving upon. With Chelsea seemingly leading the race to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, wonderkid Aymeric Laporte would be a suitable option for Wenger.

Finally, a complete central midfielder is required if Arsenal are to challenge for the biggest trophies next season. Francis Coquelin has proved a revelation this season but in the bigger matches, he needs someone alongside him who can both help out in defence but also play a part in that thrilling Arsenal attack; a deep-lying playmaker effectively. Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin seems a likely fit and linking up with fellow-Frenchmen Coquelin and Wenger would make him an ideal signing.

Barring any major departures, these three signings would not only significantly strengthen the spine of this Arsenal side but it would add an enormous strength in depth to the squad, something injuries have highlighted a lack of over the last few seasons. These three suggested signings are by no means bank-breakers either. Despite what critics of this Arsenal team are saying, they already have the world class talent, but no-one who can do the dirty work. That’s where points, games and trophies are won. Arsenal are closer to major silverware than many suspect.

With breakout performances of Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal are not far away from having a squad to challenge Europe’s best, but they must make big signings this season otherwise they will fall behind. Who dares, wins. It’s now or never for Arsenal.

Originally published at crazyaboutepl.com

Post written by Louis
for Crazy About EPL, Blog: Crazy About EPL, Twitter: @CrazyAboutEPL

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