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Arsenal Summer Transfer Window Roster Overview

A quick look at where the Gunners stand all over the pitch.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Arsenal have a busy summer transfer window ahead of them. Fresh off an unexpected title challenge that lasted well into April, the Gunners will look to retool and add both talent and depth ahead of a Champions League campaign and what is expected to be another title push. They won’t sneak up on anybody this season, and they’ll need to not wither down the stretch like they have the past two years, so filling out the back end of the roster is of paramount importance.

This will be a quick look at each position on the pitch such that every player currently listed on the Men’s First Team page of is covered, however briefly that may be. I’ll try to work in the transfer links I’ve seen at each spot, too.

Goalkeeper: Arsenal are set at #1 GK for years to come with Aaron Ramsdale. The England international recently signed a new contract. Matt Turner appears to be penciled in for another season as his backup. We should see less of Turner this year because I expect Ramsdale to get the Champions League matches, replacing Turner’s Europa League minutes.

Karl Hein looks to be the 3rd keeper and is notable because he is homegrown (and a senior international for Estonia). Alex Runarsson enters the final year of his contract with the club. He’ll either be loaned out, sold, or will leave on a free next summer. Arthur Okonkwo will likely be loaned out again. The club are high on his prospects.

Centerback: Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba are the preferred CB pairing for the next few years in North London. The Brazilian signed a contract extension in fall 2022, and the Frenchman has reportedly agreed to a new deal that is pending signature. There hasn’t been any news on Saliba’s recovery from the back problem that kept him out for the final 8 weeks of the campaign, but the club has not indicated any concern that the injury will affect next season.

Jakub Kiwior will be second-choice at LCB. The January signing looked solid in the middle of the defense (and rather less solid at LB) in limited minutes down the stretch. Backup RCB is one of the spots where Arsenal may look to the transfer market. The difficulty will be in signing a player with enough quality to be a suitable 2nd choice player who is comfortable with the playing time that comes with the role. Given the transfer links (and price tags) elsewhere in the formation, I think it possible, perhaps even likely, that one of Takehiro Tomiyasu or Ben White is the 2nd-choice RCB.

I don’t expect Rob Holding to be with the team next season. He’s not at the level the club need. He has two years remaining on his contract, prime territory to be sold, although I could also see a world in which he runs down that contract in North London, which, shrug. As long as he’s not playing meaningful minutes, I don’t much care.

Pablo Mari is headed to A.C. Monza after the Italian club triggered the purchase obligation in his loan move by staying in Serie A. Arsenal will receive about £6M.

Fullback: Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko are the starting RB and LB, respectively. Kieran Tierney is currently 2nd on the depth chart on the left, but he seems unlikely to be at Arsenal next season, with Newcastle as his probable landing spot. Nuno Tavares is nominally a left back and started his loan spell at Marseille well but struggled as the season progressed and clashed with the coaching staff. He’s probably in the shop window and not likely to have much of a role with the Gunners going forward. That leaves Jakub Kiwior and / or Takehiro Tomiyasu as the current backup left back.

Speaking of Tomiyasu, he’s expected to participate in preseason at some point as he continues to recover from knee surgery in late March. Right now, he’s the somewhere on the depth chart at right back, right centerback, and left back. Thomas Partey deputized at RB in a pinch down the stretch.

Arsenal are in need of another right-sided defender, which is partially why Moises Caicedo is an attractive transfer target. Even though his long term future and main role would be as a CDM, he’d likely be somewhere on the RB depth chart, too.

Cedric spent the second half of the season on loan at Fulham. His contract is up after this year, which will either be spent elsewhere (another loan or a sale for a nominal fee) or buried on the depth chart in North London. Auston Trusty had a fantastic season on loan at Birmingham, earned his first call-up to the USMNT, and is attracting interest for a permanent sale, maybe to Rangers in Scotland.

Holding Midfield: Currently, Thomas Partey is first choice at the base of the Arsenal midfield. When he was in-form, he was one of the best in that spot in the Premier League, but he has struggled with consistency, both in play and fitness, is on the wrong side of 30 years old, and has other issues. It is not surprising that Arsenal’s top two targets this summer, Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo, are both CDMs (even if Rice might be used to fill the left-side #8).

Jorginho has another year on his contract with Arsenal, and there is an option to extend beyond the end of this upcoming season. He’ll get rotational minutes in “easier” matches to help keep guys fresh.

Albert Sambi Lokonga started his loan spell at Crystal Palace well under Patrick Vieira but saw his playing time cut significantly once Roy Hodgson took over to guide Palace out of the relegation zone. It doesn’t seem like he has much of a future at Arsenal, although a successful loan spell, perhaps under fellow Belgian Vincent Kompany at newly promoted Burnley, could change that. Lokonga is also firmly in the shop window for a permanent sale this summer.

Mohamed Elneny isn’t likely to play much of a role next season. The club extended his contract by a year on reduced wages to allow him to rehab at London Colney from his serious knee injury. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out in January so that he can some playing time in his legs ahead of a permanent move next summer. Ainsley Maitland-Niles time at Arsenal is finished. Arsenal declined their option to extend his contract. He’ll leave on a free transfer.

No. 8: Martin Ødegaard is one of the first names on the team sheet and the driving, creative force behind the Arsenal attack from the right side. Fabio Vieira is his most analogous backup. Despite Vieira’s up-and-down performances in his first season in North London, I think he’ll be given a chance to establish himself among the attacking options next season. His fbref similar players is an impressive list.

Granit Xhaka is likely headed to Bayer Leverkusen for a fee in the neighborhood of £13M. Left side #8 is the biggest current gap in the Arsenal starting lineup heading into next season. Declan Rice might fill that role. The spot might also be filled by Kai Havertz or a similar, more attacking-minded player from the transfer market.

Where Emile Smith Rowe fits into the picture is anybody’s guess, and the answer might be that he doesn’t. He could be among the players on the way out this summer and would command a decent transfer fee.

Wingers: Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are the first choice right and left winger, respectively. Arsenal don’t have a true backup on the right. The Gunners may look to bring somebody in this summer to fill that role. They may also look to some combination of Reiss Nelson or one of the other attackers playing out of their main position to give Saka the rest he needs. Mikel Arteta could also shift players around, i.e. Gabriel Jesus at RW with Eddie Nketiah up top.

Leandro Trossard is the “backup” left wing, in quotes because he’s got more than enough quality to earn meaningful minutes beyond those of an out-and-out backup.

Marquinhos spent the second half of the season on loan at Norwich in the Championship. He likely needs another season of development before he’s ready to contribute to the Arsenal first team (if he ever gets to that level, which isn’t a knock on him, just a comment that it’s hard to make it, especially with Arsenal aiming higher).

Nicolas Pepe is all but finished in North London. He had a pretty good season on loan for Nice, scoring eight times in Ligue Un, but struggled to stay healthy in 2023. He’s likely to be sold this summer, and if Arsenal cannot find a suitor, we may be in for another contract termination by mutual agreement.

Strikers: Gabriel Jesus was a transformative signing for the Arsenal attack and was excellent before getting hurt at the World Cup. Eddie Nketiah was solid during Jesus’ absence. That looks to be the one-two punch heading into next season, although there are rumors the Gunners might be in for another striker-type player this summer. I’m skeptical — the club have priorities elsewhere. For what it’s worth, transfer target Kai Havertz has played as a #9 and may get some minutes there for Arsenal as well should the move happen.

Folarin Balogun presents an interesting question for the club. He exceeded all reasonable expectations on loan at Reims, scoring 21 goals in Ligue Un, good for 4th most in the division. He switched international allegiances to the USMNT and is set for his debut in the CONCACAF Nations League fixtures. With Gabriel Jesus established as the starter and Nketiah a proven, capable backup, minutes leading the line will be tough to come by. Do Arsenal sell high on Balogun to help fund other summer business? The young attacker is garnering plenty of interest from around Europe and should fetch a very good return. It’s a good “problem” to have.

What are your thoughts on how Arsenal’s roster shapes up heading into the summer?