With Unai Emery installed as Arsenal manager, there was always the expectation that change was to be upon us at the Emirates Stadium. Any time a new manager is installed at a club, a raft of transfer activity is soon to follow and this has certainly been the case in the red half of north London.
Fans of the club will have every reason to feel optimistic about Arsenal’s fortunes as three new names have already been installed into the squad over the course of the summer. When you consider that so much focus has been on the World Cup as of late, it shows that Emery is wasting no time in undertaking this Emirates revolution.
A number of players that have performed well in Russia have been linked with a move to the club. One of those is Gelson Martins who represented Portugal on the way to their round of 16 before they lost to Uruguay, a team that have Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira among their ranks.
The Uruguayan is believed to be set to complete a deal now his nation’s participation in Russia has come to a close. Arsenal fans thought they’d have had to wait though as looking at Betfair World Cup tips, Uruguay represented good value at 14/1 in going all the way to the final and winning the competition for the third time. Sadly for them, it wasn’t to be the case.
The good news though is that where other managers have been biding their time and waiting for the World Cup to come to a close, the former PSG and Sevilla boss has wasted none as he looks to form a unit which is capable of returning to the Champions League next season.
The past couple of campaigns have seen Arsenal show flaws in defence, especially when it really matters. The 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in last season’s Carabao Cup final is a case in point and it is this area where the new Gunners boss has sourced reinforcements.
In between the posts, there have been questions in the past as to who will be the number one with Petr Cech and David Ospina battling it out to be the club’s goalkeeper. Now this battle will have only intensified with the arrival of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen.
The German international’s arrival should signify that he will now become Arsenal’s undisputed first choice and the question that now needs to be asked is which of Cech or Ospina will be making way, especially as three into one simply does not fit?
There have also been arrivals in the back four with two international defenders joining the club. The first of those is Stephan Lichtsteiner who joins from Italian giants Juventus. He may not arrive here with age on his side but, that said, he does bring a whole raft of experience.
That’s not only because of such a lengthy career for both club and country, but also the sizeable collection of trophies that he has won with Juventus. The hope will be that his winning mentality is something that can rub off on his new teammates.
Many felt that his arrival would be in the role of a backup player, but with the long-term future of Hector Bellerin still yet to be confirmed, it could well mean that the Switzerland international defender plays more games than both he and Unai Emery would have expected.
That said, he looks more than capable of doing the job and his presence within Arsenal’s ranks can only be deemed a positive one. Another positive is the capture of Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund.
His signing will add stability to what has been a shaky back line for Arsenal. Not only that but it will fill the void that has been left by the long-term injury to Laurent Koscielny. The French international injured his Achilles in the Europa League semi-final last season and may not return until the end of the year.
The three signings that have already been made are certainly positive steps under Arsenal’s new man in charge, and you get the feeling that this will not be the last pieces of business that the club conduct. League success may be a step too far this time around but with the squad that is being moulded, a top-four finish must be considered a realistic prospect come the end of the season.