Mikel Arteta needs to take Arsenal up the Premier League table, but there are still things to be done this summer

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After back-to-back eighth-placed Premier League finishes, with an FA Cup victory in between, Mikel Arteta is under pressure to get Arsenal back into the top-four this season.

When he left his position as Pep Guardiola's assistant in Manchester City to become Unai Emery's replacement in December 2019, the Spaniard was given a difficult job. The task of turning Arsenal's fortunes around is no less daunting than it was a year ago. After Christmas, there was some improvement, as Emile Smith Rowe joined Bukayo Saka, a fellow academy graduate, in the starting lineup, but the familiar problems soon returned and Arteta's exit from the Europa League was another low point for a frustrated fanbase. Arteta mentioned the need for a huge summer in the transfer markets as the season came to an end. As they attempt to win back disillusioned supporters, the Kroenke owners of the club have sanctioned investment in their squad. Ben White arrived from Brighton for PS50m, and deals have been made for Albert Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, both midfielders. Aaron Ramsdale could be joining them soon, as Aaron Lokonga is a midfielder and Aaron Ramsdale is a goalkeeper. Smith Rowe has been offered a long-term contract. Supporters who have seen the squad become stale over the years are happy to see the emphasis on youth. England international White will be a fresh dimension for their defense. Lokonga, Tavares, and others have shown great promise in the pre-season. Bernd Leno will be challenged by Ramsdale in goal. Smith Rowe is now the No 10 shirt and looks ready to build on his breakout season. Despite all the support from that quintet, Friday's first game against Brentford was dominated by the feeling that the club has much to do in terms of the transfer market. Arsenal's goal total last season was second in Premier League history. Yet creativity and cutting-edge still seem to be lacking. This is even more evident now that Martin Odegaard, who was on loan from Real Madrid, has returned to Arsenal. This is a worrying sign. Arsenal and Arteta are worried about a stagnant transfer market and a squad that is too large and not interested in selling the players they want. Although the club had to take a significant financial hit in January when it had to sell Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Moustafa, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Hector Bellerin, and Lucas Torreira remain on their books. Granit Xhaka will stay, however, after Roma's refusal to match Arsenal’s asking price. One player they were able to find a suitor for is Joe Willock. Newcastle will sign a PS25m deal to permanently sign him after his successful loan spell. report from oksports Arsenal's chances of making the required progress this season may hinge on the availability of players to sign before the deadline expires at the end. They will then have to face Chelsea and Manchester City. Arsenal's fixtures are not in the best time. Another question that could be decisive is whether Arteta can coax more from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Although the 32-year old was the driving force behind their FA Cup win last summer, scoring both goals against Chelsea in the 2-1 victory, and earning a lucrative new deal in the aftermath, his form has declined dramatically. In his first two-and-a-half years of north London, the striker scored 70 goals in 109 games. He only managed to score 15 goals in his 39th season. Arsenal won four consecutive games, but their captain scored only once in the final 11 matches. Pre-season has been his only season without scoring. Aubameyang or Arsenal may be able to benefit from a more relaxed schedule. Although their failure to qualify for Europe was disappointing, it allows them to rest more and Arteta has more time to train with his players. He must make the most of that time and Arsenal must do the same with the remaining weeks. While this summer was not without its positives, there are still issues that Arsenal must address if they want to get back to where they belong.

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