Wenger’s first ever signing in England was Nicolas Anelka from Paris Saint-Germain for £500,000. The acquisition proved to be a successful one when the Frenchman bagged 23 goals in 65 league appearances. His impressive form in England attracted many suitors, with the biggest of them all being Real Madrid. Arsenal made a £23million profit on the prolific striker, who moved back to Paris following a disappointing spell at the Bernabeu.
That signing was the first of not so many and Wenger has been criticised for not buying enough players. Arsenal were dubbed a feeder club that brought in young players and developed them before selling them on to make a profit. Wenger started to feel pressure from fans and critics but insisted he was doing a good job, stating: “you cannot make careers [and you cannot] buy every time you have an injured player. You know I have the wrong reputation. I’m not scared to spend money. The job of a manager is not to spend as much money”
Over the years the club has seen a lot more money coming into it from new sponsorships and the large sums of money from TV rights. Wenger has made marquee signings such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez and the two have been some of the Gunners’ biggest signings in both price and pedigree.
Both have been linked with moves away from North London recently but, with nothing concrete yet, they will still want to help Arsenal extend their 20-season run of finishing in the top four. Arsenal need a win against Everton on Sunday and, at the same time, need Liverpool to drop points in order to secure Champions League football next season. While the bookies aren’t taken with the idea of Liverpool falling out of the top four, Oddschecker are tipping Arsenal to stay level with Everton until half time, given the Toffees’ penchant for parking the bus, but win overall.
Regardless of this season’s results, many Arsenal fans want Wenger out and after countless under-performing seasons and the lack of money being spent, it’s easy to see why. Arsenal haven’t won the league since the 2003/04 campaign because they haven’t had a title-winning team since then. Arsenal need a few players to strengthen their squad if they want to progress as a team, whether Wenger is in charge or not. But who?
Andrea Belotti is a 23-year old forward currently at Torino in Italy’s Serie A. The striker has scored 37 goals in 64 league appearances for the Italian side and has impressed plenty of people during his short career.
Belotti managed 25 of those 37 goals in this campaign and was just two goals off former Arsenal forward and Seria A top scorer, Edin Dzeko’s 27 goals. The Italian scored more goals for his ninth-placed Torino than league winning striker Gonzalo Higuain (24). He also managed more than Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi(24) and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile(22).
The Italian would offer something different up front compared to Oliver Giroud and although his acquisition may push Sanchez back out wide it would certainly strengthen the squad as a whole.
Arsenal may already have Ozil but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to bring in another prolific goal creator in Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Swansea man has the fourth most assists in Europe’s leagues this season with 13 and his amazing passing ability was only just enough to save the Swans from relegation this season. He would certainly be on his way out if they had gone down.
If they perform next term like they did this term then they can’t have much hope of surviving and Sigurdsson would most likely seek a move away. Arsenal should snap him up before Swansea even start the season and solidify their midfield with the Icelandic player. He would be a perfect fit in Wenger’s team and would thrive around the likes of Ozil and Sanchez.
Petr Cech is still performing in goal for Arsenal at the age of 34 but he can’t play forever. They do have Wojciech Szczesny returning from his loan spell but with the relationship between him and Wenger already a little fragile it might not be long until he departs.
Arsenal should join the race to sign AC Milan starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma to strengthen their goalkeeping options. The stopper is still just 18 years old and has already made 66 league appearances for the Milan side after his unofficial senior team debut against Real Madrid on July 30, 2015.
The Italian has already featured three times for his country and will definitely be one of the best goalkeepers in recent history. As goalkeepers only get better with age, it would be worth locking down his signature now before his price tag inevitably rises.
Another young player making headlines is Ajax’s 17-year-old Matthijs De Ligt. The central defender has already featured 11 times for the first team this season and helped them on the way to a Europa League final. They may have missed out on the Eredivisie title but De Ligt has been a rock at the back in those 11 games and has shown abilities beyond his age.
After youngster Rob Holding broke into the Arsenal first team defence, it isn’t hard to see him partnered with De Ligt in a very young central defensive partnership. He joined the club at nine years old but like many from the Ajax youth academy, he may want to move on in search of winning bigger and better trophies.
Arsenal definitely need a stronger squad whether they are in Europe next season or not. Whether they require a change in manager to be able to do that is another question.