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.
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.
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.
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.