Arsenal summer priorities ranked: Sell Hale End duo, Zinchenko and sign new midfielder

Jason Soutar
Arsenal summer priorities includes selling Oleksandr Zinchenko and signing Martin Zubimendi
Arsenal summer priorities includes selling Oleksandr Zinchenko and signing Martin Zubimendi

It promises to be another crucial summer for Arsenal after falling short in the Premier League title race.

From selling four stars to bringing in a new defensive midfielder, here’s what the Gunners need to do if they want to finally topple Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Arsenal’s five summer transfer window priorities ranked

5) Extend Mikel Arteta’s contract
No explanation needed. Arsenal want to extend Arteta’s contract and Arteta wants to stay. Make it happen and win some pots and pans for crying out loud. The reason this is fifth is because there is no window; he has a year left on his current deal. In reality, Arsenal need their manager to commit his future more than any new signing.


4) Cut ties with Hale End graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah
The exit of Smith Rowe is a) painful and b) now extremely likely when two years ago he was one of Arteta’s most important players and a huge reason why he was still in the job. Unfortunately, the Gunners have simply outgrown him and striker Eddie Nketiah.

Despite his influential performances in 2021, Smith Rowe has only started three Premier League matches in the last two seasons and is clearly behind too many players in the pecking order. Furthermore, his departure could present more first-team opportunities to teenage prodigy Ethan Nwaneri, whose ceiling is higher than any of Arsenal’s youngsters and Smith Rowe.

Fulham are reportedly keen and around £30million should do the trick. As a pure profit sale, this would do Arsenal’s finances the world of good. As would offloading fellow Hale End role model Nketiah, who will likely fetch a similar fee.

Even as a back-up, Nketiah is not at the level required to play for a team aiming to win the Premier League and Champions League.

3) Sort out the left-back situation; including selling Oleksandr Zinchenko
Arsenal have not only outgrown academy graduates Smith Rowe and Nketiah, but they no longer have a place for Oleksandr Zinchenko in their squad.

The Ukrainian only joined in the summer of 2022 and was an instant success, appearing to be the perfect inverted left-back for Arteta’s signature formation. But his defensive frailties hurt Arsenal on too many occasions despite his influence in possession. Jurrien Timber was signed as a result and Takehiro Tomiyasu leapfrogged Zinchenko in the pecking order.

Timber probably would have been Arsenal’s first-choice left-back had he not torn his ACL on matchday one and Arteta will 100% have a plan for left-back. That is unknown to us at the moment but the sale of Zinchenko should eradicate doubt.

Jakub Kiwior is another player capable of playing in that position, while Kieran Tierney’s loan spell at Real Sociedad is over. Both players would make more sense as back-ups than keeping the former Manchester City star.

So, Arteta must stick with Timber or bring in a new first-choice left-back. Given the lack of options out there – Ajax teenager Jorrel Hato, Fenerbahce’s Ferdi Kadioglu and Feyenoord’s Quilindschy Hartman have all been linked – we can see the excellent Dutchman starting there next season.


2) Sign a young striker – either Benjamin Sesko or Joshua Zirkzee
The need for a world-class striker has decreased following Kai Havertz’s emergence as an option in the second half of 2023/24, meaning Arsenal can pursue a project, rather than a ready-made star who will cost north of £80m. Sure, Alexander Isak would be nice, but a shiny new midfielder is more important.

Rasmus Hojlund coming into Manchester United to be the main man up front greatly hindered his debut season at Old Trafford and Arsenal can learn from his experience. RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko and Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee are two superb all-around strikers with their best years ahead of them. Either would be a perfect addition to the Gunners’ attack, especially considering the former will cost around £50m and the latter closer to £34m.

Havertz’s form certainly reduced the pressure on Arteta and Edu to bring in a striker but signing one should still be a priority.

Gabriel Jesus still has a lot to offer but unfortunately for him, he is better suited to a back-up option for any of the positions across the front three, and his ability on the right wing saves Arteta from going out and buying someone to provide cover for Bukayo Saka…if the Brazilian is happy with that role, that is. He was in that situation at Man City and that ultimately led to his move to Arsenal, where he was promised the role as the main man.


1) Sign a defensive midfielder and sell Thomas Partey
Martin Zubimendi has been hotly linked with a transfer to Arsenal, with reports in Spain claiming Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is ‘obsessed’ with the Real Sociedad midfielder. He would be an excellent addition, fitting the profile that should be a priority rather than a No. 8.

Declan Rice is more than capable of playing as a No. 6 but is more effective higher up the pitch. He wins the ball in dangerous areas and his incredible engine allows him to quickly get back in position and be an excellent defensive asset, with his 2023 summer addition making Arsenal a joke out of possession.

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Jorginho has filled in very nicely whenever called upon and remains a solid deep-lying midfielder, but Zubimendi can do everything the Italian can and more. He is more agile and progressive and should be Arteta and Edu’s top target this summer. This signing could be the difference between winning the Premier League title and another painful silver medal.

Zubimendi’s potential addition gives Arsenal the flexibility to offload Thomas Partey, who is entering the final year of his contract in north London. A liability due to his injuries, if the Gunners can get some cash this summer – most likely from Saudi Arabia – they will be chuffed.

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