I don’t think that we have to stretch our imagination to realise that Arsenal will be in the market for two, possibly three players this summer.
Unless Stan Kroenke has a change of heart concerning finances or Arsenal manage to sell off its deadwood, the figure may be relatively modest.
A central defender or left back (de Ligt and Wan-Bissaka) or both would be a solid investment and a creative midfielder with a little steel in his blood would be money well spent.
Reports concerning strikers are way off the mark at present, unless they are giving one away. We have Lacazette and Aubameyang and can go at least a season or two without adding to that area.
Other reports are regarding wingers such as Yannick Carrasco, Cengiz Under and Nicolas Pepe, all names that keep resurfacing but Emery can employ Suarez in that role, Iwobi has acquitted himself well in the role and Maitland-Niles has emerged as something of a utility player.
That leaves the midfield, which is desperate for new blood and although we have a useful crop of youngsters coming through from the academy, Emery will look to add someone that can adapt almost instantly.
That brings us to Nicolò Barella and Ander Herrera, who have been heavily linked with the gunners. I’ve watched hours of both and it’s a contentious choice if you go for Herrera. He’s hardly been a world beater for Spam United and Ole Gunner Solskjaer, but he is available on a free in the summer, which ticks a big box for the Arsenal bean counters. Given the choice, I would go for Barella all day long.
He won’t be cheap, anywhere from £40 to £50 million as soon as Arsenal show interest but I love those Italian traits of committed, combative, heart on the sleeve, kind of player. He is also younger at 22 and will be a long term plan as opposed to Herrera who is 29.
For me, it’s all about the Emery mould and Barella fits that perfectly. Creative but willing to get back, a solid build up player that likes to let fly and will create chances for others.
He has broken into the Italian side and is in a run of four matches under Roberto Mancini. However, Chelsea have shown interest, so if we get dragged in to a cash/splash competition, we will lose out.
However, Herrera would do a short term job as the Academy boys get more experience such as Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Charlie Gilmour and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The big question is will the gunners have the funds to snatch Barella and it may be as simple as that. Charlton’s Joe Aribo could be another option but Arsenal already have youngsters as good as or even better than the 22 year old, who is said to be ready to sign a new contract.
Summer is coming and all our questions will be answered, there may be a few names to add to the ever expanding list of possibilities, which will continue to allow us to play this game for months.