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The potential 2018/19 Arsenal XI that could win the Premier League

Unai Emery is going all-out this summer and could knock Manchester City off their perch.

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Arsenal
Photo: Getty Images

It has been 14 long years since Arsenal last lifted the Premier League title but optimism is rising following an impressive transfer window.

Under the guidance of new manager Unai Emery, the Gunners have made a number of exciting signings in the market and continue to be linked with further additions – with the minimum objective for the new season being to return to the top-four after a two-year absence.

Facing competition with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, that task will prove to be difficult but the potential line-up that Emery can select next season gives the Gunners a big chance of ending their long wait for league glory.

We’ve listed Arsenal’s exciting line-up here, including new recruits and other signings that could follow before the window shuts in mid-August.

GK: Bernd Leno

Arsenal have struggled for consistency between the sticks in recent years and Arsene Wenger was often accused of being too loyal to his underperforming stoppers, with neither Petr Cech or David Ospina doing enough to warrant his full faith in the latter years of the Frenchman’s tenure.

Emery has wasted no time in rejuvenating his options though, signing Germany international Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee that the Evening Standard states is worth £22 million. The 26-year-old is likely to become first-choice, with Cech moving to back-up and Ospina likely on the way out.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

RB: Hector Bellerin

Arsenal have signed Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus to provide competition on the right-side of the defence but Hector Bellerin is expected to remain as first-choice, though he will need to improve on his performances last season.

Still just 23, the former Barcelona youngster propelled himself into Arsenal’s line-up four years ago and has made the spot his ever since. However, his displays and development have dipped in recent campaigns but Lichtsteiner’s experience could be a key factor in pushing Bellerin towards his full potential.

CB: Caglar Soyuncu

Heavily linked with Arsenal since the start of the summer window, Caglar Soyuncu’s agent recently told Turkish Football that his client remains in ‘concrete talks’ over the signing of the Turkey international, who could become Emery’s fourth defensive recruit.

The 22-year-old Freiburg defender has been identified by Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat as an ideal signing and the potential arrival of Soyuncu could push Germany international Shkodran Mustafi, who has been linked to Juventus by Corriere Dello Sport (h/t Tom Coast of Sports Witness), out of the Emirates Stadium.

CB: Sokratis Papastahopoulos

Arsenal’s ex-Dortmund contingent has grown significantly since Mislintat was appointed as the club’s head of recruitment, with Sokratis joining former team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in north London.

The 29-year-old could become the experienced leader at the heart of Arsenal’s defence amidst ongoing speculation regarding Mustafi’s future and Laurent Koscielny’s long-term injury absence, which could bring the best out of Soyuncu if a deal for the youngster is secured.

(Photo by Florian Choblet/Getty Images)

LB: Nacho Monreal

Although the Mirror state Spain international Nacho Monreal is a top-target for Real Sociedad following the sale of Alvaro Odriozola to Real Madrid, there is no indication that the Gunners want to sell a player who was one of their finest performers last season.

The arrival of Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke provided the now 33-year-old with competition for his spot at left-back but Monreal thrived in Wenger’s final season.

While Arsenal are looking to the future as they push towards a deal for Barcelona youngster Joel Lopez, Monreal still has enough in his tank to be a star performer for Emery’s side.

CM: Lucas Torreira

After weeks of speculation which indicated that Arsenal had secured a deal with Sampdoria for the services of Lucas Torreira, fans were forced to wait until after Uruguay’s involvement at the World Cup for confirmation of a deal.

Supporters finally got that this week, in a deal The Guardian says is worth £26.5m, and his performances in Russia certainly caught the eye, where he showed the sort of combative midfield display that Arsenal have been lacking since the days when Gilberto Silva was in his prime.

CM: Aaron Ramsey

Although the future of Aaron Ramsey is still not resolved, with the Wales international entering the final year of his contract in north London, Unai Emery sees the former Cardiff City man as the ideal figure to build his new-look team around, according to Sky Sports.

Now 27, Ramsey is entering the prime years of his career and has become a firm favourite with the fans after memorable performances in recent campaigns, which include scoring two FA Cup winning goals. Captain for Arsenal in Wenger’s final game against Huddersfield, many believe he should be handed the armband on a permanent basis.

RM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

One of the biggest transfer sagas of the January window saw Arsenal lose Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United and receive Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return, which so far has seen the Gunners get the better end of the deal with their Premier League rivals.

The 29-year-old scored two goals and provided four assists in 11 league appearances for Arsenal, per Whoscored, including in a 2-1 defeat to his former employers. His relationship with former Dortmund team-mate Aubameyang has been growing and it could be a key asset next term.

CAM: Mesut Ozil

After a disastrous World Cup with Germany saw him become the scapegoat for the defending champion’s failures, Ozil will have redemption on his mind for the forthcoming season as he looks to silence his critics and further his solid relationship with the supporters.

Handed the number 10 jersey after Jack Wilshere’s exit, Ozil will be the creative hub for Arsenal next season and the new-look side around him could bring the best out of the former Real Madrid man – with Torreira behind him allowing Ozil to focus on attacking, while the likes of Mkhitaryan and Ramsey can provide options with runs in behind.

(Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

LM: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

A major January recruit for Arsenal, Aubameyang hit the ground running in the Premier League by scoring ten goals and contributing four assists in just 13 league appearances, Whoscored show. Now bracing for his first full season at the Emirates Stadium, the Gabon international is expected to shine.

Regular going toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski during his time in the Bundesliga for the league’s top-scorer honour, Aubameyang is a contender to challenge for the Premier League’s golden boot in 2018-19 up against the likes of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

ST: Alexandre Lacazette

The signing of Aubameyang in January, just months after Alexandre Lacazette’s own record-breaking move from Lyon, could have handed the France international a major blow but the reality is the pair have impressed in the same side.

Lacazette may not always lead the line next season due to the competition with Aubameyang but WhoScored stats show his form in front of goal during his debut Premier League campaign was impressive, netting 14 times and registering four assists in a season where he was also forced to spend months on the sidelines due to injury.

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Arsenal

One winner and one loser as Arsenal set to retain Nacho Monreal

Arsenal’s decision to keep Monreal will have a major impact on the squad.

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Monreal
Photo: Getty Images

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery is overseeing considerable changes at the Emirates Stadium this summer but the services of Nacho Monreal will be retained.

Highly-linked with a move to LaLiga side Real Sociedad, Mundo Deportivo now state the Basque side have ended their pursuit of the 32-year-old as Arsenal want to keep him at the club and would demand a significant price for the full-back.

Having entered the final 12 months of his contract, the former Malaga man is unlikely to remain at Arsenal for the long-term but the decision to keep the Spain international for the 2018-19 season will have a major impact on the squad.

Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the latest developments.

Winner: Joel Lopez

Arsenal are set to sign 16-year-old full-back Joel Lopez from the clutches of Barcelona, the Evening Standard states, and will sign a scholarship deal with the Gunners before securing his first professional deal next March when he turns 17.

The highly-rated teenager will join Arsenal’s U18 ranks and will then look to develop into a first-team asset for the Gunners, following in the footsteps of compatriot Hector Bellerin, and Monreal’s experience could provide a key learning curve.

Boasting 22 Spain caps, Monreal is the ideal role model for a young player like Lopez and can help craft the teenager into his long-term replacement.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Loser: Sead Kolasinac

Signed on a free transfer from Schalke last summer, WhoScored stats show Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal shared first-team responsibilities last season as the Bosnian appeared 27 times in the Premier League and Monreal featuring on 28 occasions.

However, just ten of those appearances came in Kolasinac’s preferred position at left-back as Monreal was first-choice for the Gunners on the left-side of defence and that is likely to remain the case in 2018-19 under Unai Emery.

While Kolasinac’s versatility is a tremendous asset to the squad, it limits the 25-year-old in his quest to become one of the first names on the team-sheet and Goal state that Arsenal will eye a new signing if Monreal leaves, suggesting Emery does not rate Kolasinac that highly.

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Free agent Max Meyer would be Arsenal’s ideal Aaron Ramsey replacement

The Gunners would suffer a huge loss if Ramsey was to leave but this starlet would ease the pain.

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Max Meyer
Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.

The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.

Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.

“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”

Unai Emery discusses Aaron Ramsey’s future

Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.

Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.

Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.

While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.

Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.

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Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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