Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger, finally solved their long-standing issue of holding midfield by adding former Borussia Monchengladbach's captain, Swiss international Granit Xhaka. This marks the second-straight midfield addition following the January transfer of Mohamed Elneny (like Xhaka, a former Basel player).
Now that those moves have been made, the attention of fans and observers of Arsenal alike turns to "what next?"
Many, probably rightly, assume that the next priorities for Arsene Wenger this summer are center back, another attacking midfielder/winger, and a striker. Let's deconstruct each of these areas of need.
Arsenal finished the season fielding, mainly, a redundant center back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel. Each thrives better paired with a deeper-lying center back who allows them to be more aggressive in challenges and play. Both of them on the pitch together, however, is a recipe for calamitous play. As the season wore on, Wenger made it clear that the high-profile mistakes made by Per Mertesacker (notably at home versus Chelsea) would not go unpunished, but without the sort of center back at his disposal Wenger surely felt Mertesacker's strengths went missing.
The problem is that there doesn't appear to be a name rumored to be available that would fill the Mertesacker role. Players such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Mehdi Benatia and Kostas Manolas could be allowed to leave their respective clubs, but the links aren't strong enough yet, nor does it seem like any are interested in playing in England. Unless a name not yet mentioned comes up within the vast space of today and the summer transfer deadline day, Wenger could go into next season with the same set of defenders as he finished the last one with.
Following the Xhaka transfer, rumors almost immediately cropped up with a move for Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian international's current deal with Dortmund runs through 2017, and recent news of his refusal to extend his stay there has opened up the possibility that Arsenal, among others, will look to capitalize on this recent development.
Were Arsenal to actually purchase Mkhitaryan, this would force either him or Mesut Ozil out left as both prefer to play centrally. Were Mkhitaryan to move away from the middle he's best out right but, assuming Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez kiss and make up from whatever was bothering both of them as the season wore on, his services will be needed in only a couple of spots. And that doesn't take into account Theo Walcott potentially staying on.
Further, if Xhaka's purchase means Wenger attempts the infamous 4-1-4-1 from two seasons ago (unlikely, but a possibility nonetheless), there is even less of a need for Mkhitaryan since pushing two centrally-preferred players out wide is an even dumber idea than just pushing the best number 10 in the world out to the touchline.
The most scrutinized position at Arsenal right now is center forward, and there's little debate about that among the masses. Arsenal's inability to finish Ozil's chances last season led them to miss out on much-needed points that could have seen them surpass eventual champions Leicester City. Olivier Giroud's goal drought in the second half was borderline comedy, if only to serve as a mechanism to prevent full-body sobbing.
As a result, many top forwards in Europe have been mentioned as summer replacements for the Frenchman. The top, most often mentioned name, Juventus' Alvaro Morata, looks increasingly likely to have his Real Madrid buyback clause activated this summer. What is unknown is the intent of Real Madrid. Of course they could turn around and sell Morata for almost double what the buyback clause is, thus affording them even more purchasing power for whatever their needs are. Then again, having a player of Morata's talent isn't something just to take advantage of from a profiting standpoint.
Whatever the case is, Morata doesn't appear in a rush to decide his future thus complicating any alternative search for Wenger. Possibly as a result, other names such as Sadio Mane, Mauro Icardi, and Daniel Sturridge have been floated and talked about.
Unlike last summer, when Arsenal only purchased Petr Cech, it's looking to be a much different transfer window. There are obvious holes in the squad that need replacing, and assuming the new managers in the league will be incredibly active to change their rosters to their fitting one only assumes (and hopes) that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are just as busy.