What Arsenal’s title-chasing £430m starting line-up could look like next season

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A look at how Arsenal could line up next season once they’ve made their moves in the summer transfer window.

By the time you read this, Arsenal may already be champions – or they may have narrowly missed out on a first title in 20 years if Manchester City did their job against West Ham United. Either way, the Gunners will certainly be looking to improve their already-impressive squad as they prepare for another title challenge in the 2024/25 season.

The rumour mill has linked them with a vast array of players in all manner of positions, and while many look like pure speculation at this point there are several stories which look increasingly solid – and there is every chance that Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up looks very different come August.

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We’ve pulled together a very plausible starting XI for next season which features a few new faces – and discussed the positions that look increasingly likely to go unchanged over the summer.

GK: Diant Ramaj (£8.5m)

David Raya may have had a largely impressive first season at the Emirates, but that isn’t stopping Arsenal from looking at some new names in net. That’s largely because Aaron Ramsdale is expected to leave and while some of the goalkeepers linked with a move would likely be back-ups (Brighton & Hove Albion’s Jason Steele, for instance), there are reports that they’re looking at established first-choice ‘keepers like Jordan Pickford too. One very plausible rumour falls somewhere in the middle – Ajax stopper Diant Ramaj has impressed since moving from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer and is unlikely to want to move just to warm the bench, so he would represent serious competition for Raya. Transfermarkt estimate his value at roughly €10m.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (£20m)

Arsenal have three options at left-back, all of whom have had spells as Arteta’s first choice this summer – but as the season draws to a close, it’s Japan international Tomiyasu who’s holding the spot down. There have been very few creditable rumours linking Arsenal with a move for another left-back, and with Tomiyasu signing a new contract recently, it looks likely that he’ll be the main man.

CB: William Saliba (£27m)

The Frenchman has been a colossal presence in Arsenal’s defence over the past couple of years and his place isn’t under threat this summer – but it’s worth noting that Caught Offside recently reported that Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid were all considering a bid for Saliba. We have that down as being distinctly unlikely as it stands, but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in Premier League transfer history…

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CB: Jurriën Timber (£38.5m)

Arsenal have been linked with a couple of centre-backs such as Eintracht Frankfurt’s Willian Pacho but it doesn’t seem to be a priority position and Pacho is perhaps more likely to move to Liverpool, so the current crop of players will probably continue to battle for places in defence. Timber, who missed almost the entirety of the season with an ACL injury, may well win the starting spot from Gabriel Magalhães – remember that the Brazilian was dropped for the first game of the season in favour of the young Dutchman.

RB: Ben White (£50m)

Although there have been some tentative links with Bayer Leverkusen wing-back Jeremie Frimpong, we think that’s just a case of transfer websites throwing extra big teams’ names into the hat for the hell of it – White has been an integral part of Arteta’s plans and there are no indications that will change. It is very likely that a back-up or rotational defenders is added to the squad, but White will surely remain the first choice.

DM: Declan Rice (£105m)

Rice has shone since his bank-busting transfer from West Ham and should be the first name on the teamsheet for years to come – certainly his place isn’t under any threat whatsoever. The only question, with Thomas Partey and Mohammed Elneny both liable to leave this summer, is who plays alongside him. Jorginho has penned a new contract, but it looks like the club will spend big to bring someone else in.

DM: Martín Zubimendi (£52m)

There’s little doubt that Arsenal’s interest in Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz is genuine, but he would cost a massive amount of money and that link has cooled down a little in recent weeks – while the rumour suggesting that they’re after Real Sociedad midfielder Zubimendi has stayed very warm indeed. The Spaniard has a release clause set at €60m, which is a good deal less than Luiz would likely cost.

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AM: Martin Ødegaard (£30m)

Another player who won’t be going anywhere after proving himself to be one of the best in the league yet again. Arsenal have been linked with a few attacking midfielders but they’re mostly versatile players who could cover other positions as well – when the Dane is fit, he’ll play.

LW: Joshua Zirkzee (£34m)

Gabriel Martinelli’s stock has fallen considerably this season and it looks likely that Arsenal will make sure he has some competition next time out – and one of the versatile attack-minded players that has been strongly linked with a move is Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee, who can play across the front line. A talented, creative deep forward, he has a release clause of €40m and the reports suggesting he will move to North London have been very strong indeed, with his agent reportedly pushing Arsenal as the player’s preferred destination.

RW: Bukayo Saka (home grown)

There have been suggestions that Arsenal were considering a bid for Michael Olise, but that looks very unlikely given that their right wing spot is spoken for by Saka, who has continued to perform exceptionally well. Olise will very likely move elsewhere if he does depart Crystal Palace, and Saka’s position won’t be challenged.

CF: Kai Havertz (£65m)

Now, here’s the big one. Arsenal have very plainly been looking for a centre-forward, but their pursuit of a new number nine isn’t going well. They’ve eased off on Ivan Toney, Victor Osimhen may be too expensive, and it looks increasingly likely that Viktor Gyökeres, who had emerged as their preferred target, is going to stay at Sporting and sign a new contract.

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That doesn’t rule out the possibility of a bid for a big-name forward – Juventus’ Dušan Vlahović has come round again on the rumour mill, for instance – but we think there are increasingly good odds that Arteta keeps faith with Kai Havertz, who has been surprisingly effective up front. A lot could change between now and the end of the summer, however, especially if they can find a buyer for Gabriel Jesus.

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