In theory, this is Arsene Wenger’s last chance to win the Premier League title for Arsenal since 2004. The Frenchman has a contract with the Gunners till 2017, so unless, he pens a new deal, this is Wenger’s final season at the North London club.
Arsenal did a brilliant job by moving quickly ahead of other potential suitors in signing Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka before Euro 2016. Xhaka, despite missing his penalty against Poland in Euro Round of 16, impressed everyone with his overall performance. It’s time for him to deliver for his new club.
The Gunners should turn their attentions now to other areas of need. Wenger by now must have realised that he cannot rely on Olivier Giroud alone to win the Premier League title. Jamie Vardy was a reported target but the England striker decided to continue with Leicester City for one more season instead.
There is also a reported interest in Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain but Arsenal are unlikely to pay €94m for the Argentine star. Also, Higuain doesn’t seem to be the type of player that Arsenal are looking at the moment. The Vardy bid clearly suggests that Wenger is looking for a pacey striker who offers a threat in behind. Higuain has other attractive qualities but he is not blessed with pace and therefore would not facilitate the change in playing style that Wenger is keen to implement in the upcoming season.
Arsenal start their pre-season towards the end of the month when they travel to the US to face MLS All-Stars. They end the month of July with a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara.
In August, the Gunners travel to Norway to face Viking FK and end their pre-season campaign in Sweden against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
ARSENAL 2016-17 PRE-SEASON FIXTURES
Thursday 28th July: vs MLS All-Stars (Avaya Stadium, San Jose) kick-off 1am UK time.
Sunday 31st July: vs Chivas de Guadalajara (Stub Hub Centre, California) – kick-off 5pm UK time.
Friday 5th August: vs Viking FK (Viking Stadion, Norway) – 7:30pm UK time.
Sunday 7th August: vs Manchester City (Ullevi Stadium, Sweden – International Champions Cup) – 6pm UK time.