Harsh critics have already suggested that Unai Emery’s maiden season as Arsenal manager was a spectacular failure. The Spaniard was appointed under the proviso that he would return the club to the Champions League, and he ultimately came up short.
If failure to secure Champions League football in the league was disappointing for Arsenal fans, the loss to Chelsea in the Europa League final was catastrophic. Not only was it bad for morale, but it consigned the club to yet another campaign in Europe’s secondary competition.
Missing out on Champions League football was supposed to signal a period of financial austerity for the club. Instead Arsenal have been proactive in the summer window and have made the deal to break their transfer record on Nicolas Pepe.
With that in mind we take a look at some of the club’s potential transfers, and see whether or not it’s worth making a Premier League prediction to see if Arsenal can push back into the top four.
Earlier in the transfer window it appeared that Arsenal were willing to break the bank for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. Palace’s refusal to agree to a deal heavily broken down into instalments appears to have scuppered the transfer.
Instead of returning to Palace with an increased offer, Arsenal have targeted Lille forward Nicolas Pepe as their alternative. The 24-year-old has completed his move to Arsenal this week in a reported £72 million deal, which will be paid over a number of years.
Ryan Fraser was the player reported to be the alternative to Wilfried Zaha in what would clearly have been a step down for the club. The deal to sign Nicolas Pepe however seems to be just as good, if not better than the plans to secure Zaha.
The young forward has improved year-on-year after being thrust into the Lille starting line-up by Marcelo Bielsa in 2017. That improvement culminated in an astonishing season last year, in which Pepe scored 22 goals and registered 11 assists.
His form was key in firing Lille to an unexpected second spot in Ligue 1, and he will add potency to Arsenal’s already lethal front line.
YOUTUBE LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY5pXemrdk4
(Nicolas Pepe’s pace, power and trickery will have Premier League defenders quaking in their boots.)
Arsenal and Celtic have been locked in negotiations over Scottish left-back Kieran Tierney for weeks now. However the club remain confident in their ability to secure the signature of the Celtic starlet before the start of the season.
Tierney made his debut for the Scottish champions in 2015, and since then has gone on to cement his place in the starting line-up. Despite playing in a lesser league, many pundits are excited over Tierney’s potential move to the Premier League.
The 22-year-old is defensively solid and provides width, pace and good delivery in advanced areas. With Nacho Monreal past his peak and Sead Kolasinac unable to stay clear of injuries, Tierney could be a real force for Arsenal and it seems Celtic have secured Tierney’s replacement.
Unfortunately there is no ready-made replacement for Aaron Ramsey on the transfer market, but Dani Ceballos at least comes close. The Spaniard has joined the club on a season long loan from Real Madrid and will provide Unai Emery with variation in attacking midfield.
The dynamic midfielder has predominantly operated from the left during his time at Real Madrid, but his versatility makes him a good option throughout the midfield. Defensively and off the ball, Ceballos works hard – something which should endear him to Arsenal fans, and make him ideal to play in a midfield two.
His signing is somewhat of a coup for Arsenal, although fans will be wary after Denis Suarez’s poor showing on loan from Barcelona last season.