The Arsenal fans were pleased with their side’s performance in the Europa League on Thursday night as they comfortably saw off the challenge of Ostersunds with a 3-0 victory in Sweden.
Arsenal’s appearance in the Europa League this season has been a strange process for the supporters to adapt to after qualifying for the Champions League every season for almost 20 years prior to this campaign. However, the supporters may need to accept that their return to Europe’s elite competition may be delayed by at least another year due to their current league position.
An alternative route for Arsenal to take is to win the Europa League of course, but there are plenty of strong sides left in the competition and plenty of matches still to play, so their chances of playing Champions League football next season look extremely doubtful right now.
With that being said, Arsene Wenger should be working in conjunction with the Arsenal hierarchy to establish transfer targets for the summer who will help the club return to the top-four next season, and even push The Gunners towards a title-challenge.
According to The London Evening Standard, Arsenal have identified Watford’s Brazilian winger Richarlison as a potential transfer target to pursue when the window re-opens, but the club would be wise to focus on the defensive aspect of their side before pursuing attacking players such as Richarlison.
With that being said, Arsenal should make Newcastle United centre-back and club captain Jamaal Lascelles (valued at £6.3 million by Transfermarkt) a primary transfer target next summer. One of Arsenal’s core defensive problems this season has been the lack of protection for their defensive players in midfield, so the acquisition of a defensive minded midfield player should also be on Wenger’s summer agenda.
However, the absence of a quality defensive midfielder cannot be used to explain all of Arsenal’s defensive frailties, and there is no doubt that they need to bolster their options at centre back. Lascelles has been Newcastle’s player of the season so far, and without him the club would certainly be destined for relegation.
Throughout The Magpies campaign so far, the 24-year-old has consistently proven he is a brilliant reader of the game, solid in the tackle, and a natural born leader on the pitch, so Arsenal must begin strengthening their defence with the acquisition of Lascelles before making a bid for Richarlison.