July 24, 2022
Choosing the magic of Arteta 25: What Arsenal’s squad could look like for 2022-23

Mikel Arteta couldn’t have been clearer on his ideal squad size for next season. Arsenal are returning to European competition via the Europa League, and the manager knows they will need a bigger squad to cope with a bigger fixture list.

“Both competitions (the Champions League and the Europa League) require a much larger squad because the number of games you play is much larger, so I don’t think it makes much difference (for which competition Arsenal are qualifies),” Arteta said. journalists in April.

“If you can afford it – and we don’t have to do the squad turnover that we had to do – if you ask me what I want is 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers.”

Arteta realizes that this is not an insignificant request. Arsenal ended the 2021-22 campaign with just 18 senior outfield players, some of whom could leave this summer. So how could Arteta reach his magic number of 25? Athleticism reviews the possible form of the squad for the 2022-23 season…


Guardians

Naming Arsenal’s three goalkeepers is relatively straightforward. Aaron Ramsdale secured the No.1 spot after spending just two Premier League games on the bench for Arsenal, and kept it for the rest of the season. He will start next season as Arteta’s first choice.

He will be backed by Matt Turner, who will join the club this summer after Arsenal agreed a deal worth nearly $7 million with MLS side New England Revolution in January. As was the case with Ramsdale, this signing was prompted by Arsenal’s coaching staff. Goaltending coach Inaki Cana is a huge admirer of the athletic prowess and shot-stopping ability of the 27-year-old Turner.


(Photo: Mackenzie Lynn Miles-USA TODAY Sports)

Turner is the theoretical replacement for Bernd Leno. The Germany international is expected to leave the club, but it’s not a done deal – Leno has never agitated for a move, and with just one year remaining on his contract, he’ll be aware he’s not. only 12 months away from being able to negotiate a lucrative free transfer. Buyers will also be aware of this, meaning Arsenal may struggle to get the sort of fee you would normally expect for a world-class goalkeeper.

Nevertheless, it’s likely that Leno will move on. This season, the third-choice goalkeeper spot has been filled by Arthur Okonkwo. The intention is for the 20-year-old to be loaned out this season, so he can gain valuable experience in senior football. In his place, the current plan is for Karl Hein to join the senior squad.

Hein, 20, won 12 caps for Estonia and signed a new contract in the summer of 2021. He joined Reading on loan in January but only managed five league appearances before suffering a thumb injury after a fall at home that caused him to miss the rest of the season. The intention is for him to spend 2022-23 working alongside Ramsdale and Turner with the senior team.

Three goalies: Ramsdale, Turner, Hein


Defenders

As well as incoming transfers, Arsenal fans are focusing a lot on the fate of 21-year-old defender William Saliba. The centre-back, who recently became a full French international, has not featured in a competitive game for Arsenal since joining in the summer of 2019.

He spent 2021-22 on loan with Marseille, and with two years remaining on his contract with Arsenal, this summer is the critical time to decide his future.


Saliba, right, impressed in Ligue 1 (Photo: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

For his part, Arsenal’s public position is that they want to integrate him into the first team. “He has to come back,” Arteta told RMC Sport last month. “He has the experience and the environment to be competitive with us. If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure.

The question now is whether this fits Saliba’s own view. He really enjoyed his year at Marseille, a club with which he has a great affinity. In addition, he has a place to keep in the French team of Didier Deschamps. The coming weeks and months will tell us if Saliba has a long-term future at Arsenal or not.

If he stays, he will join a contingent of centre-backs which also includes White, Gabriel and Rob Holding. Arsenal are also exploring the possibility of adding a left-footed centre-back to the squad to replace Pablo Mari.

At right-back, Arsenal are content with their options. Takehiro Tomiyasu is the established first choice, and the coaching staff appreciates Cedric’s work as his understudy. Advancement in this position is not a priority. Hector Bellerin returns to the club after his loan spell with Real Betis, but his preference is to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.

The left-back is more interesting. The club have discussed the possibility of sending Nuno Tavares on loan to help him develop. It could create a vacancy, but a replacement move could be delayed until January: the Europa League group stage could also provide a great platform for the young defender to improve.

In front of Tavares, Kieran Tierney clearly remains the first choice. He hopes to be fit in time to take part in Arsenal’s pre-season training.

Nine defenders: Tomiyasu, Cédric, White, Holding, Gabriel, Saliba (?), left central defender signing, Tierney, Tavares (?)


Midfielders

Arsenal moved quickly to extend Mohamed Elneny’s contract. The Egyptian will play a valuable role in the squad, adding depth to the base of midfield. Thomas Partey will be the first-choice defensive midfielder, with Albert Sambi Lokonga likely to get needed playing time in the Europa League and domestic cup.

So far this summer, there’s been no indication that Roma have renewed their interest in Granit Xhaka. Even if they do, Arteta will be keen to keep him: his experience is an important counterweight in a young team.

Arteta will want to complete the midfield with a new arrival. Leicester’s Youri Tielemans appears to be the primary target, with Arsenal hoping to lure the Leicester midfielder to London.


(Photo: Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The line between midfielder and striker is blurred in contemporary football, but for the purposes of this exercise, Athleticism will appoint Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as midfielders. Indeed, they are all sometimes deployed in deeper roles.

There’s room for a wildcard: 18-year-old prodigy Charlie Patino. The teenager trained regularly with the first team last season and could feature with the main squad again to continue his football education.

Nine midfielders: Partey, Elneny, Xhaka, Lokonga, Patino, No 8 signing, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka


Attackers

This is the part of the team where there is arguably the greatest potential for movement.

Arsenal marked their card to some extent by agreeing to tie Eddie Nketiah to a new contract. On the other hand, Alexandre Lacazette has ensured a return to his former club Lyon.

That – in addition to the January departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – necessitates the arrival of a new centre-forward. Six of the players under consideration are Gabriel Jesus, Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Gianluca Scamacca, Lautaro Martinez and Victor Osimhen, and we’ve featured them here. Nketiah will provide competition and cover as Arsenal prepare to battle on multiple fronts next season.

Then there are the wide forwards to consider. Gabriel Martinelli’s position at the club has grown significantly over the last 12 months and he has been rewarded with the No.11 shirt.


(Photo: Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The future of Nicolas Pepe, however, seems to be elsewhere. On the last day of the season, the Ivory Coast striker could be seen posing for photos in the center circle with his family. It felt like a farewell – and having failed to start a Premier League game since October, that seems entirely appropriate.

If Pepe goes, it could open up a place for an additional wide forward. Arsenal already have Saka, Smith Rowe and Martinelli to compete for those roles – but a fourth option would be welcome.

After his loan spell with Middlesbrough, Folarin Balogun could be a candidate for a place in the 25. However, he would undoubtedly benefit from another loan as well. A decision on him will be made during the pre-season.

4 strikers: New recruit No 9, Nketiah, Martinelli, Pepe/new wide striker (?)


conclusion

So here’s Arteta’s potential ’22+3′ squad form…

Three goalies: Ramsdale, Turner, Hein

Nine defenders: Tomiyasu, Cédric, White, Holding, Gabriel, Saliba (?), left central defender signing, Tierney, Tavares (?)

Nine midfielders: Partey, Elneny, Xhaka, Lokonga, Patino, No 8 signing, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka

Four strikers: No 9 signing, Nketiah, Martinelli, Pepe/new wide striker (?)

Several players on Arsenal’s books have not been mentioned here. It is assumed that Alex Runarsson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and Reiss Nelson will not be part of Arteta’s plans next season. Of these, Nelson has arguably the best chance of being involved, especially with Pepe available to leave.

Even with these departures, it’s possible for Arteta to reach his magic number without too many signings. If Saliba, Tavares and Pepe stay at the club this summer, we could only be talking about two or three new players on top of Turner’s arrival.

Will this improve Arsenal’s squad enough? It is assumed that young players will increase their level season after season, but Arsenal also need a significant injection of quality via the transfer market. This will perhaps be determined by the caliber of additions, rather than their number.

(Photos: Getty Images)

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