The season finished on a high with the FA Cup win despite the disappointment of the fifth place Premier League finish and missing out on Champions League football for the first time in the lives of many Arsenal fans. Of course we have gone through far worse times in the past and during my 47 years of supporting the club. However, having said that our current situation is not a good one for a club with our supposed value and the assets available to us.
The news of Arsene Wenger renewing his contract can hardly have come as a surprise, but it was still a blow to a lot of fans who think we need to change the man in charge to move forward. It is what it is though and we have to get behind him and hope he can move the team forward despite the evidence of far too many seasons now. There's an awful lot of work to do with the squad this summer and his chances of making us genuine challengers again will depend on the work he does this summer.
We've already seen the arrival of Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke 04 and he looks like a good addition to the team/squad on the left side of the defence. His arrival will surely mean a departure for Kieran Gibbs, but as of yet it seems we haven't found a buyer and our fee combined with his wages could be a stumbling block. I expect Kolasinac to challenge Nacho Monreal fairly early on and he looks like he will fit nicely into a flat back four or five at the back.
Other than that though the only movement has been the inospicious exit of Yaya Sanogo who never lived up to the hype and spent most of his time at the club injured. He was another gamble that didn't pay off and it's hard to see why we signed him in the first place. He left for nothing and he won't be the first player to do so this summer.
It all feels like the transfer merry go round hasn't really started yet and it's difficult to know where Arsenal stand at the moment. The conundrum comes down to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil really with neither of their futures secure going into the last year of their contracts. Are we looking to replace them or add to them and are we trying to attract other players without knowing the futures of our two star players. If they both leave it's going to be incredibly difficult to replace them, but our need will be all the more pressing.
We are linked with so many attacking players at the moment with Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette, Arda Turan, Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Lemar and Anthony Martial among others rumoured to be on their way to Arsenal. Most of them would be very welcome additions or replacements right now, but the chances of getting any of them vary wildly. Who we might need from them is another matter though.
Mbappe is obviously the name who stands out the most, but I cannot see Arsenal breaking the world transfer record and paying the wages to go with that for an 18 year old who is a huge prospect, but is still far from the finished article. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see him at Arsenal, but I would be utterly shocked to see him join us. If we did sign him though it would surely be a signal of intent and it would make it a lot more difficult for Alexis or Ozil to leave.
It does seem we might be closer to signing Lacazette and he might just be the striker we're looking for, but the money Lyon are looking for might well put us off. We do need a top class striker though and we have needed one for a long time now. If we don't sign the striker we need I fear we won't be up to the task again next season despite scoring the third most goals in any season in the history of the club last season.
Olivier Giroud still thinks he can be that man, but I just think his lack of pace has shown he can't be even if he is a very good option at other times. I don't think we should sell him as he proved to be quite valuable last season in the limited game time he got and he could well do so again this season. Our problem could be his desire to hold down his place in the French team with the World Cup coming up next year.
There have been rumours of plenty of other departures too and some of them should probably be allowed to go while we should do our best to keep others. I hope we can hold on to Hector Bellerin, Wojciech Szczesny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it might be best for us and the players themselves if David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy and a few others headed for the hills as soon as possible. It will be difficult to keep Barcelona's grubby hands off Bellerin while it appears Szczesny is considered surplus to requirements and it's difficult to know where we stand on Chamberlain.
We've been here too often before though and ended up trawling through the bargain basement on deadline day. This summer needs to be different and it's difficult to believe it will be considering what has gone on for too many seasons now though. I hope I'm wrong, but I remain to be convinced.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.