It has been an excellent season for Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side to this point. The Gunners were widely mocked after the opening weeks of the season, as they sat bottom of the Premier League, and jokes were made that relegation could be on the cards.
However, very few opposing fans are laughing now, as the Gunners are firmly in control of their own prospects of finishing in a Champions League place. Like the front runners in the World Cup odds, Arsenal has been consistent throughout the second half of the season.
That has helped build a decent advantage over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, while still having games in hand. However, the next question that faces Arteta and his side is how they build on the 2021-22 season and get the Gunners back to being a realistic title contender.
Champions League Qualification Is Imperative
Before even thinking about the summer business that the club must do, Arsenal needs to finish in a Champions League place this season. The Gunners have been away from the premier competition in Europe since the 2016-17 season, which is far too long for one of England’s biggest clubs. The Gunners missed out on European football last season for the first time since the 1992-93 season. Getting back into the Champions League would have been the target set for Arteta and his side at the beginning of the season.
But, their chances were written off following the money spent by Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea. However, the job that Arteta has done to this point means that the Gunners are now firmly in control of their own future. If they pick up more points than Spurs and United in the final two months of the season then fourth-place will be theirs.
Why Is Champions League Qualification So Important?
The importance of Champions League qualification is evident for all big clubs in Europe. However, as well as the financial aspect, the Gunners need to offer the premier European competition if they are to attract players that will take the club to the next level. Arsenal has done some excellent business in the transfer market over the past two windows, with the signings of Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White among the best signings brought to the club.
However, if Arsenal is to reach the next level and challenge for the league title, then they will need to sign a player in the next bracket. That means paying more on a transfer fee for a player that will undoubtedly improve the squad. The Gunners haven’t made a signing of that caliber since the addition of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang as their strategy has been to sign young and exciting players. But, if they are to throw down a serious Premier League challenge, the Gunners will need a widely regarded world-class player within their squad.
Which Players Should Arsenal Target?
Recruitment at the Emirates has been excellent since Arteta arrived at the club, as the decisions made at the board level have been spot on. However, this summer will present one of the biggest challenges that the club has had in recent seasons. There is little surprise to hear that the Gunners will be going after a striker in the summer window, as Aubameyang has departed and Alexandre Lacazette may be able to leave when his contract expires.
Arsenal tried to move early to get the striker they craved in the summer, but their pursuit of Dusan Vlahovic fell short as the Serbian opted to sign for Juventus. A couple of names are still mentioned as potential targets this summer, including Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Real Sociedad’s impressive Swedish striker Alexander Isak.
Whichever striker the club brings in must immediately hit the ground running in the Premier League. However, both mentioned targets look to have the skillset to be success stories in the competitive English top-flight.
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