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29th Jun 2023

Arsenal’s strongest XI with three top signings looks dangerously good

Rory Fleming

Arsenal XI

Can Arsenal’s aggressive summer transfer policy close to the gap to Guardiola’s City?

With the news that Arsenal bested Man City in the race to secure the signature of West Ham captain Declan Rice, the North London club look to have captured their third signing of the summer.

Having already acquired the services of versatile Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz for a reported fee of £65 million, alongside meeting the £40 million price tag for Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, the Gunners have moved fast to try and bolster their squad ahead of another title challenge.

Arsenal XIDeclan Rice and Kai Havertz will replace Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey in a seismic midfield shake-up at the Emirates Stadium. (Credit: Getty Images)

To have spent north of £200 million just two weeks into the window is a far cry from the summer’s of austerity endured by Arsenal fans in the aftermath of their move to the Emirates Stadium.

But now, with American owners KSE having recently won both the Super Bowl and NBA crowns with their LA Rams and Denver Nuggets franchises, they have now clearly set their sights on Premier League glory.

Stumping up £110 million last summer on the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko and an additional £50 million in the January window, the Kroenke family are backing the ambition of manager Mikel Arteta to the highest possible degree.

This summer’s triple signing of Rice, Havertz and Timber now leaves the Gunners with one of the strongest squads on paper in all of Europe, but how will Arteta organise this embarrassment of riches into an XI capable of challenging treble-winning Man City?

Arsenal XIArsenal’s likely starting XI next season, with a host options including new signing Jurrien Timber from the bench.

How will new-signings add to Arsenal next season?:

Last season’s success was built primarily on the midfield tandem of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, a pairing Mikel Arteta is set to ditch completely in an attempt to reign in his former side.

Likely replacing Partey at the base of midfield, Declan Rice is reportedly seen by the Arsenal manager as the “complete midfielder”, and one who can offer Arsenal the defensive solidity required from a player stationed at the base of an inverted diamond.

The holding midfield role is one which is extremely challenging in a team like Arsenal, where the emphasis is categorically weighted in favour of attacking and playing as high up the pitch as possible.

Rice’s mobility, coupled with his time spent at centre half, has made him the ideal candidate in Arteta’s eyes to undertake the gargantuan task of marshalling play in front of the Arsenal back-four alone.

The West Ham captain’s impending arrival has been met with much fanfare, and in a very much antithetical fashion to the capturing of Kai Havertz.

The German international struggled to excel last season at centre forward in a drab Chelsea side, but his role his set to change drastically at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal XIGranit Xhaka and Thomas Party look set to depart for Germany and Saudi Arabia respectively. (Credit: Getty Images)

With the most runs into the box of any player in the Premier League last season, Arteta sees Havertz as the perfect foil to false-nine Gabriel Jesus, who routinely drops deep to influence build up.

Despite how influential Jesus is in developing attacking opportunities, this role often leaves Arsenal short of players in the box. This has borne the thought that the deploying Havertz in an advanced midfield role just off Martin Odegaard is the ideal solution as Arsenal look to replace the 7 goals scored by Granit Xhaka last season.

And last but by no means least, Arteta now has the welcome problem of trying to find a place in his starting back-four for Dutch international Jurrien Timber.

Timber, who can play at either right-back or centre-back, will likely find himself behind two of Arsenal’s star performers from the last campaign in Ben White and William Saliba.

However, the man long courted by Manchester United will not be coming to North London content with warming the bench, and those who have witnessed his jaw-dropping array of passing will be sure in the fact that he will find plenty of game time under Arteta this season.

Seen as the right-hand sided version of Zinchenko, being able to drop into midfield and overload lesser opposition, Timber’s reported £40 million fee may well look a steal come next May.

Is this emphatic summer revamp enough though for Mikel Arteta’s men to conquer the Everest that is treble-winning Manchester City?

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