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Building The Arsenal: Recap Edition & Summer Transfer Window Checklist

The to-do list for an ever-changing Arsenal front office.

Chelsea v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Over the course of the past two months or so, I’ve taken a look at where Arsenal stands at each position on the pitch, including the depth chart from the past season, each player’s current contract situation, what actions I believe need to be taken over the summer, and predictions for the depth chart for the 2019/20 season.

Previously: Goalkeeper | Right Back | Left Back | Center Back | Center Midfielder | Attacking Midfielder | Forwards

To close out the series, here is a summary of the players leaving Arsenal this summer, which contracts need to be addressed over the next two months, and the summer shopping list.

Players out the door

  • Aaron Ramsey (CM)
  • Petr Cech (GK)
  • Danny Welbeck (FW)
  • Stephan Lichtsteiner (RB)
  • Cohen Bramall (LB - Academy)
  • Julio Pleguezelo (CB - Academy)
  • Charlie Gilmour (DM - Academy)

That’s about £40 million in transfer fees paid for those players when they arrived, and absolutely nothing in return, in addition to letting the captain of the U23 side leave to join FC Twente, while Arsenal are in the midst of needing defensive reinforcements.

It being transfer season, there are countless rumors of numerous players moving from Arsenal to various destinations across Europe. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a few players sold, but a mass exodus seems unlikely.

Arsenal FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Contracts in need of decisions

  • Matt Macey - Contract expires on June 30th, 2019. Should be extended for another year, tested on loan, and if he proves valuable, offer a longer deal.
  • David Ospina - Under contract until June 2020. Must (and will) be sold this summer.
  • Jordi Osei-Tutu - Under contract through June 2020. Extend and loan out.
  • Nacho Monreal - Contract expires on June 30th, 2019. Unless Arsenal have a ready-to-start caliber left back ready to split time with Sead Kolasinac, Monreal has to be extended for another season.
  • Dominic Thompson - Under contract through June 2019. Extend and loan out.
  • Krystian Bielik - Under contract through June 2020. Had a great season in League One, and could be an option for this upcoming year. Extend for two additional years.
  • Emile Smith Rowe - Under contract through June 2020. Extend his contract and decide early on if he can see double the minutes from 2018/19 or, if not, allowing him a full season on loan getting regular minutes at the senior level.

I’m electing to allow players like Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson to see out the end of their contracts this season and determine their own futures, unless they ask the club for a move this summer.

None of the players listed above are crucial, which shows that the majority of the team is in decent shape from a contractual position. Arsenal can thus focus on addressing the futures of loanees and academy players, and more seriously consider offers from other clubs.

Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Summer Shopping List

  1. New Right Back - This isn’t Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ best role in the team, Osei-Tutu needs time on loan, and Jenkinson isn’t the backup Arsenal need. Hector Bellerin needs a proper and equal level player to rotate with as he returns from injury this season.
  2. Mustafi Replacement - Technically, Arsenal have enough bodies at centerback to play two or three at the back. But everyone knows the backline needs a change, and the era of Mustafi errors needs to come to an end.
  3. Backup Goalkeeper - Sell Ospina, possibly Martinez as well, and send Macey on loan.
  4. New Left Back - Monreal’s contract remains unresolved and Bramall was released. Leaving just Sead Kolasinac and Dominic Thompson confirmed for the upcoming campaign.
  5. Center Forward - Either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette could decide to leave this summer or next, or the club could get an offer it can’t refuse. With Welbeck gone and Eddie Nketiah in need of regular playing time on loan, a new, younger forward option needs to be secured.
  6. Attacking Midfielders - Reiss Nelson’s return will seem like a new signing, giving the attack some width. Another wide option and a future #10 prospect would be ideal, as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan move towards the exit door - however slowly that walk-off is.
  7. Center Midfielder - Even with Ramsey gone, and Elneny likely to follow him out the door, this is an area that may not need too much help. CDM isn’t a pressing issue with Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mattéo Guendouzi, and Joe Willock on the roster. If right back is addressed, AMN becomes another option.

That gives us an Arsenal shopping list of five to seven players. It seems ambitious, but that is what the start of a transfer window feels like. Now it’s your turn. What would you add to this list? Anything that comes off the list for you due to the player available and academy outlook? And maybe most important, how do you rank the summer’s priorities?