Liverpool v Osasuna - Pre-Season Friendly Official Premier League Nike Strike Aerowsculpt 21/22 during the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and CA Osasuna at Anfield on August 9, 2021 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool England breton-liverpoo210809_npyDF PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xJosexBretonx

Arsenal have bounced back from a rocky start to the 2021/22 Premier League season and now have their sights set on the top four. Although summer signings such as Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu have been a success, the development of Mikel Arteta’s squad is not yet complete, and the Spaniard will be looking to add more quality during the January transfer window and next summer.

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For Arsenal, there has been a lot of conjecture about the specific areas that need strengthening to maintain a top four challenge and potentially qualify for the Champions League for the first time in five years. The recent controversy surrounding star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been stripped of the club captaincy, suggests the Gunners might be on the lookout for a goal scorer, but are there any other pressing issues to be addressed?

After spending £150m on six players in the summer, Arteta has admitted that the club “don’t expect big things to be happening” when the transfer window opens next month. However, he has not shut the door on potential new arrivals. He recently said: “We have talks every week about it, how we can improve the team, and what things can happen in the January transfer window that can affect our squad.”

One player who is unlikely to arrive over the winter is Fiorentina’s prolific striker Dušan Vlahović. The 21-year-old has been in red hot form in Serie A, but despite Arsenal’s interest and that of other top European sides, Vlahović is set to remain in Italy until at least the summer. A potential alternative in the short term could be Luka Jović, who has failed to settle at Real Madrid but is still a big talent at age 23.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are still on the lookout for a playmaker in the Özil mould despite Martin Ødegaard’s summer switch and could try to prise Florian Wirtz away from Bayer Leverkusen. The Gunners reportedly face competition from Chelsea and Real Madrid for his signature, but his 14 goal contributions in the Bundesliga during the early season suggest he is worth fighting for.

Recent transfer rumours have linked Arsenal with a number of different forward options, which makes sense as Emile Smith Rowe has been one of the only standout performers in the final third. After 16 games, Arsenal have scored a comparatively meagre 21 goals. Players like Real’s Marco Asensio and Club Brugge’s Noa Lang could give the team a much-needed cutting edge.

In contrast, the backline has looked relatively solid, with Ben White slotting in seamlessly at centre back and Tomiyasu and Nuno Tavares impressing after their own switches to the Emirates over the summer. Ramsdale has been another standout in goal, so centre midfield, wingers and forwards are likely to be the areas that Arteta focuses on in the coming months.

Qualifying for the Champions League is always a challenge with so many top sides in the Premier League, but if Arteta can strike the right balance with several more additions, Gunners fans could be looking forward to big nights in Europe again after a forgettable few seasons.