How Arsenal could line up in the 2021/22 season

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It’s going to be a summer of mass change at Arsenal with Mikel Arteta hoping to continue his rebuild of the squad.

The Spaniard’s side failed to achieve their objectives last term and will be without European football for the first time in 26 seasons when the 2021/22 campaign comes around.

When he took the reins, many understood it would take time but at a club of Arsenal‘s size, you only get time if you’re meeting the minimum requirements and this time around he failed. The club are going to be heavily reliant on player sales when it comes to funding any incomings but given there are many seemingly headed for the exit door, the team could look very different next season if Arsenal play their cards right.

Here is a look at how the north London giants could line up next season.

GK: Aaron Ramsdale

Aaron RamsdaleAaron Ramsdale

Aaron Ramsdale is currently on international duty with England at Euro 2020 / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Arsenal are said to have made initial contact with Sheffield United over Aaron Ramsdale. The Gunners have been strongly linked with a move for Ajax’s Andre Onana but things have gone quiet on that front.

Mat Ryan joined the club on loan last January but it’s thought Arsenal are not looking for another ‘stop-gap’ signing. Ramsdale is likely to cost big money, but that doesn’t seem to have put the Londoners off.

The fact Arteta’s side are seemingly in the market for a goalkeeper has cast further doubt over Bernd Leno’s situation. The German has been first choice since his arrival in 2018 but hasn’t always been convincing.

RB: Zeki Celik

Zeki CelikZeki Celik

Arsenal are said to be one of three Premier League clubs interested in Lille’s Celik / Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

A right-back is said to be one of the club’s priorities this summer, having braced themselves for the departure of Hector Bellerin. A vacancy will open up with the Spaniard’s departure and one player supposedly of interest is Lille defender Celik.

The Turkey international could be available for £13m with the Ligue 1 champions desperately needing to raise funds this summer. As well as being a competent defender, Celik is renowned for his ability to contribute in the attacking third and is your typical modern-day full-back.

CB: Ben White

Ben WhiteBen White

Arsenal are said to be in advanced negotiations with Brighton over Ben White / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Arsenal are in advanced negotiations with Brighton over Ben White. The England international has earned plenty of admirers in recent seasons but given centre-back wasn’t seen by most supporters as a priority this summer, the interest has come as a surprise.

He’s likely to cost somewhere in the region of £45m and the links with the 23-year-old have sparked controversy with regards to the future of William Saliba. It’s clear Arsenal and Arteta desperately want White and he’s likely to be an Arsenal player by the time the 2021/22 campaign kicks off.

CB: Gabriel

Gabriel dos Santos MagalhãesGabriel dos Santos Magalhães

Gabriel has just completed his first season in the Premier League / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Gabriel’s form dropped off in the second part of the 2020/21 season but there were enough signs to suggest he has what it takes to become a very good centre half. The Brazilian is just 23 years old and has already established himself as a regular in the Arsenal defence.

Physically, he is perfect for the Premier League and if partnered with the right man there is no reason he can’t continue to grow and hold down a spot in the team for many seasons to come.

LB: Kieran Tierney

Kieran TierneyKieran Tierney

Tierney struggled with injuries last season / Visionhaus/Getty Images

There isn’t an Arsenal fan out there who hasn’t fallen in love with Tierney since his arrival from Celtic back in 2019. Defensively he is extremely secure but his ability to get forward to devastating effect makes him the complete full back.

When fit he simply has to play, but there is one concern to be had over the Scotland international with regards to his fitness. The 23-year-old picked up a lot of niggles in his debut season in England and while he is a nailed on starter it’s important cover is brought in this summer.

CM: Thomas Partey

Thomas ParteyThomas Partey

Arsenal signed Partey last summer for £45m / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Signed for £45m last summer, Partey’s first season with the club was somewhat underwhelming. Fitness troubles meant he struggled to find his rhythm and having put those issues behind him, his partnership with Granit Xhaka was broken up in order for the Swiss to cover at left back.

Arsenal fans and Arteta alike will be expecting much more from the Ghanaian next season, and why not? He’s most certainly capable of it and there’s no reason he can’t boss the midfield in the way he did during his time with Atletico Madrid.

CM: Albert Lokonga

Albert Sambi LokongaAlbert Sambi Lokonga

Arsenal have had an opening offer for Lokonga rejected but they’re expected to return with an improved bid / Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

The Gunners had an initial £13m bid for Albert Lokonga rejected by Anderlecht but are expected to return with an improved offer. The Belgians are said to be holding out for something closer to £20m but the likelihood is the clubs will meet somewhere in the middle.

He appears to have all the attributes of a top midfielder in the making and is likely to be one of a number of midfield recruits this summer – particularly with Granit Xhaka likely to leave in the coming weeks.

AM: Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith RoweEmile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe has been brilliant since breaking into the first team back in January / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Despite Aston Villa’s interest in the player, Emile Smith Rowe is expected to sign a contract extension at the Emirates and continue to play a major role in Arteta’s rebuild.

The England Under 21 international added a much needed creativity to the Gunners’ midfield in the second half of last season. Although the club are thought to be looking to bring in another attacking midfielder this summer, they’re not close to doing any significant business in that area.

RW: Bukayo Saka

Bukayo SakaBukayo Saka

Saka was Arsenal’s standout player last season / Pool/Getty Images

Arsenal’s brightest star in what was overall a disappointing season, Saka continues to go from strength to strength and is currently one of the first names on the team sheet.

Moving onto the right flank has seen him take his game to another level and he is one of the club’s most valuable assets nowadays.

His form dipped at the back end of last season but having made Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship he’ll be buzzing and it’ll be an experience that will undoubtedly improve him further.

LW: Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas PepeNicolas Pepe

Pepe was in inspired form at the end of the 2020/21 campaign / Pool/Getty Images

Pepe is starting to show signs of being the player Arsenal broke the bank for in August 2019. The £72m price tag has been a burden on the 26-year-old but if you can put that to one side, you’ll see a very effective winger with the ability to impact football matches and score goals regularly.

He ended the 2020/21 season brilliantly and deserves to be a starter moving into the new campaign as things stand.

ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangPierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang had a poor season but there is no reason he can’t return to his best / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

For all the talk of Aubameyang having a disastrous season, he still managed to score 15 goals. A number of issues saw him struggle to live up to the high standards he set previously, but with the possibility of Alexandre Lacazette being sold he should be the man to lead the line.

A proven goalscorer who will be desperate to bounce back and prove his doubters wrong, we all know what Aubameyang is capable of when firing on all cylinders and he remains one of the best centre forwards in the division.

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