The Gunners finished a disappointing sixth in the 2017-18 Premier League season which saw the end of legendary manager Arsene Wenger's 22 year tenure at the club. The man entrusted with the huge challenge of succeeding as Arsenal boss is ex-Sevilla and PSG manager, Unai Emery, who arrives with an impressive CV and boasts of exceptional European pedigree after winning 3 consecutive UEFA Europa League titles with Sevilla.
The task ahead for the Spaniard is immense as he looks to replace a manager who has been the face of the club for the past 22 years. Emery will need all the support from his staff and club owners if he is to turn the fate of the club around. He needs to make critical decisions regarding the ins and outs at the club to haul an ageing and underperforming squad.
Arsenal signed Borussia Dortmund superstar, Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, to address their goal-scoring issues in February 2018 who was also the last signing under Arsene Wenger. He had an excellent start to life in Arsenal colours after scoring 10 goals and bagging 4 assists in 12 games for the Gunners. Arsenal also announced the signing of Switzerland veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus whose contract with the club expired at the end of May. He is Arsenal's first signing under the Unai Emery era as they look to add definitive leaders to their squad.
Arsenal have reportedly made multiple advancements in the transfer market over the past week as they look to support a new manager eager to turn around the fortunes of the club. Let's take a look at 4 players who could join Arsenal before the start of the 2018-19 Premier League season:
#1 Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen)
The 26-year-old shot-stopper has been a consistent performer in the Bundesliga and has already surpassed 300 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen proving his experience at the top. At a bargain price of 20 million pounds and with a keeper who hasn't lived up to the heights Arsenal fans dreamt of in Petr Cech, Bernd Leno could be the answer to Arsenal's goalkeeping problems for the past decade and could be a long term beneficiary for the club.
The Leno transfer rumor has been claimed by SportBild as a 20 million move is imminent. Adding to that, he has reportedly liked an Instagram post regarding his move to London. Leno has kept the second-most cleansheets in the Bundesliga (45) since the start of the 2014-15 season with Manuel Neuer being the first (56).
Sky Sports News, a trusted source among football fans, also tweeted the below yesterday: "BREAKING: Sky sources: Arsenal are in advanced talks with Bayer Leverkusen over the signing of goalkeeper Bernd Leno."
A new goalkeeper is a top priority and Arsenal fans will be extremely excited to see one of Germany's most promising goalkeepers sign for the club. The German contingent at the club will help him settle in and with Leverkusen having signed a new goalkeeper recently from Frankfurt, it seems like only a matter of time before the deal is officially announced.
#2 Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport(h/t Football Italia), it's understood that Arsenal have agreed a 26.4 million pounds move for 22-year-old Uruguay and Sampdoria midfielder, Lucas Torreira. Sky Italy also confirmed the news that Arsenal are in talks with Sampdoria for midfielder Lucas Torreira and an agreement is close. The Gunners have been in the market for a central midfielder as Emery searches for players who could fit his high-pressing off the ball system and have identified Torreira to be the perfect fit.
Impressing the likes of Uruguayan star Luis Suarez with his stellar performances in Serie A at a very young age, the snappy midfielder doesn't seem to have put a foot wrong since his debut. Compared to the likes of Chelsea star N'Golo Kante for his explosive nature, the pocket rocket becomes a nuisance for his rivals and Arsenal fans would certainly hope he can reproduce similar success as Kante in the Premier League.
With 4 goals and 1 assist to his name in 36 games last season, Torreira will be responsible for the defensive aspect of the game where he averaged 2.8 tackles per game for Sampdoria last season. If Instagram can be accepted as a trusted source, there is much reason for happiness for the Gunners as the midfielder already follows Arsenal and also liked a post regarding his imminent move to Arsenal. Arsenal fans will have to wait for an official update from the clubs however, as the midfielder will look to win the World Cup with Uruguay and form a key component of the side.
#3 Caglar Soyuncu (Freiburg)
Compared to the likes of Mats Hummels, the 22-year-old defender, Caglar Soyuncu will hope to bolster a fragile Arsenal defence. Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislinstat has been a long term admirer of the centre back according to Soyuncu's agent but faces stiff competition from top European clubs for his signature. Sky Sports News also confirmed the rumor as Arsenal are one of many Premier clubs interested in the Freiburg defender.
Here is what Soyuncu's agent Mustafa Dogru reportedly told Turkish Football: “Sven is interested in Caglar, there are concrete talks, all that remains is for a fee to be agreed. We will see what happens next. What I will say regarding the Liverpool link is that there were four to five Premier League clubs scouting him over the international break. There are four Premier League sides who've made a move for Soyuncu, that we are in talks with.”
The good news for Arsenal fans would be that his agent has confirmed concrete talks are ongoing between the clubs for the transfer with a reported 35 million pound fee, the asking price. With natural pace especially over short distances, the ability to read and time a tackle to near-perfection, Soyuncu will look to add much needed confidence and solidity in a youthful Arsenal defence featuring the likes of Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and emerging star Konstantinos Mavropanos.
The Turkish will need to improve the disciplinary aspect of his game however, if he is to rise up to his true potential as one of the top defenders of the game. He played a total 30 games for Freiburg in all competitions with injury or suspensions getting in the way of more league-minutes. He could without doubt be a shrewd investment for the Gunners considering his age and potential.
#4 Sokratis Papastathopolous (Borussia Dortmund)
New Arsenal boss Unai Emery seems persistent with the need for reinforcements at the back as he looks to add quality defenders to the squad and with the help of Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, has identified Sokratis to be the perfect fit. Following a severe 6-month long injury to veteran defender Laurent Koscielny and a spineless performance from Shkodran Mustafi last season, the need for Arsenal to sign an experienced leader is immense.
According to Sky sources, the Gunners have agreed a deal with Borussia Dortmund for the Greek defender. It was reported last month by BBC Sport's David Ornstein that the Gunners were set to land Sokratis in a £16 million transfer. Kicker reportedly confirmed that the clubs have now agreed on a £15million fee and the Greece international should be an Arsenal player by Sunday.
The Greek defender will need to provide cover for the injured Frenchman Koscielny but will also hope to be a role model for the young defenders at Arsenal, especially fellow Greek centre-back Mavropanos. Sokratis won 68 percent of his individual duels last season in the Bundesliga, the league third-best and has been a mainstay at the back for Dortmund showing tremendous leadersip qualities throughout his career.
Rejecting the likes of Manchester United as confirmed by his father, a fee of 16 million pounds has been reportedly agreed between the clubs for the 30-year-old. He is also believed to have completed a medical with only an official announcement from the club pending since Dortmund do not want the transfer to be finalised until the start of the next financial year. This means Arsenal fans might have to wait until July 1 for the final update.
This certainly looks like an exciting summer for Arsenal fans as they look to make definitive moves early in the transfer window. Are these players good enough to turn around the fortunes of the North London club? Let us know what you think.