The growth of many of Mikel Arteta’s assets into some of the best players in their fields has allowed Arsenal to make significant progress in the past year.
From the stuttering beginning he encountered to the failure to place in the top four in 2021/22, the Spaniard deserves a great deal of respect for how his project has developed. Nothing has stopped him from getting better, and last season was quite profitable for both him and his club.
The objective now is to close the gap after securing Champions League football and establishing themselves as Manchester City’s closest rival by a wide margin. This summer is a crucial time to do it.
The defence was arguably the team’s main area for concern during the previous season, as William Saliba’s injury in mid-March caused their performance to suffer and their championship defence to falter. While the Frenchman’s massive presence is partly to blame for this, his absence was actually made worse by a lack of adequate support.
Therefore, strengthening their backline need to be a top focus.
Fortunately, a great opportunity for this transfer window has already presented itself, as it was revealed last month that the Gunners were one of many clubs watching Benjamin Pavard of Bayern Munich.
According to reports in Italy, an offer of about €20 million (£17 million) would be enough to persuade him to leave Germany due to a contract that is worth only £84 thousand per week, according to Tuttosport via FCInternews.
Could Ben White be imitated by Benjamin Pavard?
It is difficult to help but quickly draw comparisons between the France international and Ben White given his versatility as a right-back and center-back.
After all, the former Brighton and Hove Albion mainstay moved to north London after spending the majority of his career in the centre, only to be used as a full-back by Arteta in their most successful season to date. There is no chance for this.
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard have all had their finest goal-scoring seasons in the league as a result of the presence of such a strong defensive unit, which provides the platform for their free-flowing attack to flourish.
This is because to the 25-year-old’s 1.6 tackles and two clearances per game, whose positional knowledge alone makes them a stronger defensive unit.
They would therefore have adequate backup for Saliba and whoever is chosen as the starting right-back if they were to add another player to the squad who has experienced a similar evolution in position.
After all, the 27-year-old has lived up to Uli Hoenes’ praise that he would be a “outstanding signing” during a season in which the Bavarian giants narrowly won the Bundesliga title.
In fact, Joshua Kimmich was the player on his team with the highest average Sofascore rating (7.35), which is supported by his five goal contributions, 2.3 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, and 2.5 clearances per game.
Julian Nagelsmann, his former employer, applauded his mentality back in March, saying: “Benji had a good performance. He’s a winner at heart. He also had goals today. Against Paris, he performed admirably (first leg). He is performing well while playing more frequently in his preferred position. I am aware that he is at ease here.
These two, who differ from the modern full-back’s midfielder-style body by having a stronger offensive focus, might greatly improve the depth of the team while also adding another seasoned champion to their ranks.