10 Bold Decisions Arsene Wenger Must Make at Arsenal This Summer
This is a big summer for Arsenal. After the disappointment of seeing their championship challenge crumble, the club will have to be bold to get back into the title picture for next season.
Big deals will have to be done, and big decisions made.
At the moment, it seems Arsene Wenger will be the man to make those decisions. In this piece, we look at 10 courageous calls that could make Arsenal serious title contenders in 2014/15.
Sign a New Deal
First things first: Arsene Wenger must sign a new deal with Arsenal.
The latest indications are that he intends to do precisely that. Speaking to the Guardian, Wenger said:
Look, I have said that many times already, I have given my word to this club and that I want to continue where I am … that means to stay.
The sooner that deal is done, and Arsenal can proceed with certainty, the better.
Upgrade Olivier Giroud
Although Olivier Giroud has scored 20 goals this season, his record against the very best teams remains poor.
If Arsenal want to lift the Premier League title next year, they need a centre-forward with more pace in his running and precision in his finishing.
Replace Mikel Arteta
Next season Mikel Arteta will turn 33. Judging by his recent performances, he is starting to feel his age.
Arsenal need a midfield destroyer with a more youthful energy. Someone in the mould of Chelsea's Nemanja Matic would be ideal.
Add Depth at Centre-Half
Arsenal have got away with having just three senior centre-backs this season. With expectation mounting that Thomas Vermaelen could leave this summer, Arsene Wenger must act to add depth at the back.
Arsenal may need to recruit two new central defenders to cover for the first-choice duo of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Find the New Bacary Sagna
According to Arsene Wenger, contract talks with Bacary Sagna have stalled. Wenger told Arsenal.com:
At the moment they [talks] are not progressing. We know what we want from him, he knows what is on the table and that's where we are. The ball is not in our camp anymore, it is in his camp, and he needs to come back to us.
If Sagna is to depart, Wenger must find someone who can replace Sagna's discipline and athleticism. Reports in the Daily Star suggest Frenchman Serge Aurier is currently favourite to arrive in Sagna's place.
Keep Lukas Podolski
Lukas Podolski is Arsenal's most ruthless finisher. Arsene Wenger must keep him at the club this summer.
With Podolski out of the team for prolonged periods, Wenger must surely have considered the possibility of letting him leave London. However, his finishing prowess would be difficult to replace. Podolski has shown enough to remain a Gunner.
Experiment with 4-4-2
Arsenal's previous league titles under Arsene Wenger have all been won using a version of a 4-4-2.
Arsenal should experiment with reintroducing that system, if only to add some flexibility and unpredictability to their tactics.
Bring Back Joel Campbell
Send Yaya Sanogo out on Loan
Joel Campbell's progress shows the benefit of a spell on loan. The same opportunity should be afforded to Yaya Sanogo.
Sanogo has been given his chance in the first team this season but has looked raw on every occasion. He needs regular football to improve, and a temporary move is the best way for him to get it.
Recruit a Goalkeeper to Challenge Wojciech Szczesny
Arsenal's current goalkeeping deputy, Lukasz Fabianski, is poised to leave the club on a Bosman free.
Arsene Wenger must find a new shot-stopper who is capable of keeping his No. 1, Wojciech Szczesny, on his toes.
What decisions do you think Arsene Wenger should make this summer? Leave your comments below!