Arsenal's transfer priorities this summer - ranked

  • Arsenal have several positions of need this summer
  • Gunners to prioritise moves for a striker and central midfielder
  • Cover for David Raya and Bukayo Saka also needed
Will Edu Gaspar be able to work his magic this summer?
Will Edu Gaspar be able to work his magic this summer? / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Arsenal will attack 2024/25 with one goal in mind: usurping Manchester City.

The Cityzens, their current work being clouded by the 115 charges which loom large, have pipped Arsenal to the post in back-to-back season. 2023/24 undoubtedly hurt more, with the Gunners falling short despite racking their their highest Premier League points tally in 20 years.

Mikel Arteta's side have jumped from 69 to 89 points in the space of two seasons, now the focus will be on reaching a tally closer to 95. The benchmark Pep Guardiola's side have set is utterly ridiculous.

There are things the club could fix internally to aid their charge, no doubt, but another efficient summer is set to be key in setting Arsenal up for title glory next season. The club doesn't need a makeover, but the shifting of several players could set up the arrivals of players at key positions of need.

Here's a ranking of the Gunners' five transfer priorities.

5. Goalkeeper

Aaron Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale is set to depart in favour of regular starts / Visionhaus/GettyImages

David Raya's shock signing and subsequent emergence as the club's number one left Aaron Ramsdale in the mire for much of last season.

Bereft of confidence in his rare appearances, it's clear that Ramsdale needs a move away for the sake of his career. He needs regular minutes, and he won't be usurping Golden Glove winner Raya anytime soon.

The Englishman has garnered Premier League interest and the expectation is that he moves on this summer.

That would leave the club requiring a sturdy backup for Raya with young Arthur Okonkwo getting released. Karl Hein remains on the club's books, but a proper number two would be needed. Dutchman Justin Bijlow has been linked.

4. Left-sided defender

Jorrel Hato
Jorrel Hato is on Arsenal's radar / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Reports suggest that Arsenal regard a left-sided defender as one of three key priorities this summer, but I'm not convinced that a major upgrade is necessary - even if I would be open to the sale of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Jurrien Timber's return will be huge for 2024/25, with the Dutchman highlighting his capacity to play at left-back at the start of his career in north London.

Should Timber stay fit, he should play the bulk of Arsenal's games next season with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jakub Kiwior providing able cover. These three can also operate in reserve to Gabriel at LCB.

However, I do understand why Arteta would want more of a specialist in his defensive ranks and Jorrel Hato would be a move with plenty of upside should the club opt to pursue the 18-year-old this summer.

3. Bukayo Saka cover

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka still needs stiffer competition / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Poor Bukayo, eh?

Saka's status as one of the world's best and most productive wingers over the past couple of years means Arteta simply doesn't want to imagine an Arsenal lineup without him.

He's played a lot of football as a result, picking up a litany of knocks along the way. It's not sustainable, and his form down the stretch often suffers as a result.

Arsenal shouldn't be targeting a player that would merely operate in reserve to Saka, but a winger capable of functioning on the left as well. Saka needs stiffer competition than Reiss Nelson.

Perhaps Nico Williams or Pedro Neto could be the answer.

2. Striker

Benjamin Sesko
Benjamin Sesko is Arsenal's priority striker target / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

A new striker would've been the overwhelming priority for every Arsenal supporter on the planet back in January, but Kai Havertz's emergence during the second half of the season means the need isn't quite as great this summer.

But, despite reports that Arsenal's priorities had shifted, there's no doubt that the Gunners will be singing a new #9 ahead of 2024/25. Havertz's form to conclude last season just means the ready-made superstar doesn't need to be acquired. They can sign a project forward with immense upside like Benjamin Sesko.

The Slovenian international appears to be their guy; the club's answer to Erling Haaland up in Manchester. Sesko requires plenty of refinement, but he's the freakish transitional threat Arsenal need to win big games.

The 21-year-old knows where the back of the net is, too.

1. Central midfielder

Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard
Arsenal need another midfield passer / Julian Finney/GettyImages

There was nothing wrong with Arsenal's midfield last season, and the addition of Declan Rice proved transformative. The former West Ham skipper will be a cornerstone of Arteta's project for years to come.

However, it feels as if evolution is required in the middle of the park. If Arsenal are to spend big in one area of the pitch, it'll likely be central midfield.

The profile Arteta desires is not yet clear. That'll depend on whether the boss views Rice as a #6 or #8 long-term. Nevertheless, a versatile profile will be targeted - one capable of working in harmony with Rice and skipper Martin Odegaard, who took up a new role last season as a conductor in deeper areas.

With Thomas Partey potentially being moved on, Arsenal could do with a passer of the Ghanaian's ilk. Partey's legs are fading, but he can still offer distinct moments of quality in possession. The general feeling is that the Gunners need a true conductor who can dominate in all phases. Bruno Guimaraes would be close to the ideal profile, but a move for the Brazilian is considered unlikely.