France v Croatia: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 1
Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Christopher Nkunku and £43m man lead 4 fresh faces in 22/23 Arsenal XI

Photo by Roland Krivec/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Arsenal are ready to pay RB Leipzig’s mammoth asking price for Christopher Nkunku – but with Mikel Arteta also interested in Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio, what will the Gunners’ XI look like next term?

Nkunku has shot to prominence among some of Europe’s leading clubs this season after producing a breakout campaign in Saxony. The 24-year-old lit up the Bundesliga from a raft of positions to merit his senior France debut this March, amid scoring 20 goals and creating a further 15 across 34 games.

BEST Brazilian Premier League XI 21/22

Jesse Marsch had started the season by utilising Nkunku as a left-forward during his brief spell at the Red Bull Arena helm. The American also experimented with the six-cap dynamo occupying a central attacking role, whilst his successor Domenico Tedesco took Nkunku’s threat to an even higher level.

Photo by Philippe Lecoeur/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Arsenal are interested in paying RB Leipzig valuation for Christopher Nkunku

Nkunku scored 14 and created nine of his Bundesliga haul over 20 games under Tedesco, either as a centre-forward, shadow striker or attacking midfielder. He also only failed to score or lay on an assist in seven top-flight games under the Italian to end the term with the second-most goal involvements.

Now, the Independent report Arsenal are ready to pay RB Leipzig’s £100m valuation to edge interest from Manchester United, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain in Nkunku. But the PSG product prefers to remain in Saxony for another season, and may also agree to sign a new contract with a release clause.

Arsenal and PSG are ready to pay Die Roten Bullen’s asking price to lure Nkunku to England or back to France this season, though. Liverpool, meanwhile, are likely to end their pursuit after the signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica. Manchester United would have to wait until 2023 due to their budget.

The Reds and Red Devils’ positions could convince Arteta to step up his pursuit knowing the forward has fewer options. He also knows the Gunners must strengthen in attack this summer after letting Alexandre Lacazette leave as a free agent and return to Lyon once his contract ends on June 30.

Nkunku is not the only target Arsenal are interested in signing this summer, should he agree to leave RB Leipzig, as well. So, with that in mind, here is what Arteta’s starting XI may look like next season…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsdale (GK): Arsenal have no need to be interested in new first-choice stopper

Arsenal have no need to be interested in a new first-choice shot-stopper this summer after watching Aaron Ramsdale prove a huge success since his £24m, rising to £30m, switch from Sheffield United in August. The 24-year-old England ace recorded 14 clean sheets from 37 appearances for the Gunners.

Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB): Injury blighted promising debut Emirates Stadium season

Persistent calf injuries blighted Takehiro Tomiyasu’s promising debut season at the Emirates Stadium after joining from Bologna in August. The £15.5m deadline day capture delivered consistently strong defensive performances and instantly established himself as the club’s clear number one right-back.

Ben White (CB): Defender silenced any doubters over £50m price tag

Ben White silenced any doubters over his £50m price tag when moving from Brighton last summer. He has proven his defensive ability at a club competing to claim the European places by offering Arteta a driving force out from the back with a high technical ability and was not afraid to get stuck in, either.

Photo by Flaviu Buboi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

William Saliba (CB): Arteta to finally give Emery arrival his Arsenal debut

William Saliba is finally returning to Arsenal this summer, three years on from Unai Emery buying the £27m centre-half. His performances on loan at Marseille this term, which returned his senior France debut, should now return his Gunners bow, having shown a strong ability in duels as a real defender.

Kieran Tierney (LB): Arteta must see Scottish star stay fit for the full season

Arteta will want to see Kieran Tierney stay fit for the full season for the first time since the Scottish star moved to Arsenal for £25m in 2019. On his day, the full-back is a top operator at both ends with a solid defensive and offensive presence. But he has only played 64 of a potential 114 league games.

Thomas Partey (CM): Midfielder was finally coming good for Gunners before injury blow

Thomas Partey was finally starting to show why Arsenal paid Atletico Madrid £45m for his transfer in 2020 before suffering a thigh injury in April. The Ghanaian excelled between December and March as the all-action enforcer in Arteta’s engine room, forming the base for the club’s strong run of form.

Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

Youri Tielemans (CM): Arsenal interested in Leicester raid for Belgium international

Arsenal are interested in singing Youri Tielemans from Leicester City this summer to provide Arteta with fresh ideas in midfield. The Telegraph note the Gunners are ready to open negotiations to buy the Belgian at £25m, but the Foxes could seek more than £30m despite his contract expiring in 2023.

Bukayo Saka (RW): Talisman of Arsenal’s attack could be even better next season

Bukayo Saka was the talisman of Arsenal’s attack this term and may yet be even better next season. The 20-year-old offered 11 goals and seven assists over 38 Premier League appearances following his involvement in Euro 2020. Now, the England ace should enjoy more rest and hit the ground running.

Martin Odegaard (CAM): Summer 2021 signing set to captain Arteta’s men next term

Martin Odegaard led Arsenal on the field with or without the captain’s armband following his £34m arrival from Real Madrid in August, and may now earn the role full-time with Lacazette leaving. The Norwegian also led the Gunners in creativity with 77 key passes ahead of Saka’s 68, per WhoScored.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Marco Asensio (LW): Arsenal interested in Real Madrid raid for new Spanish maestro

Arteta is also interested in possibly adding a new Spanish maestro this summer, with Sport reporting Arsenal and Manchester United are likely Premier League landing spots for Asensio if he leaves Real Madrid. The 26-year-old is out of contract next year and discussions over a new deal remain stalled.

Los Blancos would demand €50m (£43m) to sell Asensio this summer nonetheless, having offered 12 goals and two assists over 42 appearances this season. The Galacticos also suspect the 29-cap star is angling for a transfer away from the Santiago Bernabeu after hiring Jorge Mendes as his new agent.

Christopher Nkunku (ST): Arsenal interested in club-record transfer for RB Leipzig star

Nkunku would offer Arsenal a versatile threat to link with Saka, Odegaard and Asensio should Arteta step up his interest and sign the RB Leipzig star this summer in what would be a club-record transfer for the Gunners, eclipsing the £72m paid to LOSC Lille for Nicolas Pepe during Emery’s tenure in 2019.

LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment