Arsenal have fallen short in the race for the Premier League title, with reigning champions Manchester City now holding all the cards in the two-way battle.
The Gunners had drawn three consecutive games, but falling at the hands of their title rivals proved a significant hammer blow to their hopes of ending a 20-year wait for the league crown.
Despite being in the driving seat for much of the campaign, Mikel Arteta’s side are now in a must-win situation in their remaining fixtures while hoping the Cityzens falter.
It will take the mother of all capitulations for Man City to fail in defending their crown, but the Gunners can hold their heads up high for going toe-to-toe with the serial league winners.
Arsenal have come a long way since Arteta began his managerial career at the Emirates Stadium, with the Spaniard transforming the Gunners into title contenders after three and a half years.
While potentially seeing their chances of a Premier League triumph this term go up in smoke, they can take consolation from the fact that they will be playing Champions League football next season.
The Gunners have laid a solid foundation that they can build next season, and featuring in Europe’s most prestigious tournament for the first time in seven years is a significant achievement.
Fans and pundits have laid out several reasons why Arsenal have stumbled with the finish line in sight. But in truth, they have not been good enough.
Arteta will need significant reinforcement from the transfer market to close the gap on Man City and compete for the elusive trophy.
Here are three players we think the Gunners should sign this summer to bolster their chances of winning the Premier League title next season.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for West Ham United captain Declan Rice and are reportedly confident of sealing the deal for the midfielder.
The 24-year-old has publicly expressed his desire to play Champions League football which means the Hammers may be powerless to deny him a move this summer.
Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have formed the backbone of the Gunners’ midfield, but they have been guilty of dropping form in key moments and need competition to keep them on their toes.
Arsenal snapped up Jorginho from Chelsea to plug the midfield gap, but signing a player of Rice’s calibre would take the Gunners to the next level.
However, they will face competition from Newcastle United, Manchester United and Chelsea, who are also keen on the England international.
Arsenal are reportedly on the market for a new striker, and Brentford’s Ivan Toney could prove another shrewd acquisition for the Gunners.
The English striker has burst onto the scene this season, scoring 20 goals in 32 Premier League games, placing him third on the top scorers’ chart behind Erling Braut Haaland and Harry Kane.
Toney’s goals have been crucial to Thomas Frank’s side, with the Bees sitting 9th on the Premier League standings and on course to beat last season’s 13th-place finish.
The 27-year-old’s outstanding link-up play, excellent passing abilities and lethal finishing will give Gabriel Jesus a run for his money.
Toney’s unique style of power and precision has proven difficult to stop for defenders, and Arteta could do with a player of his skillset and composure in front of goal.
Arsenal’s defensive woes have contributed to their late slump this season, and it is clear why shoring up their backline should be a priority this summer.
Ben White has stamped his authority on the right side of Arteta’s back four despite naturally being a centre-half, with Takehiro Tomiyasu playing second fiddle to the Englishman.
However, the Japanese defender’s injury problems have left the Gunners short on right-back options, and a player of Kyle Walker’s experience could prove instrumental to Arsenal’s title ambitions.
Signing the four-time Premier League winner would allow Ben White to move back into his more accustomed centre-back role, providing competition for William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.
Arteta should be planning another raid on his former side, especially with Walker’s contract at the Etihad Stadium set to run out in 2024.
Despite the player’s unwillingness to move, the Cityzens will be keen to offload him this summer to avoid a free transfer at the end of next season.
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