Arsenal targeting Sokratis Papastathopoulos as part of new back five this summer in overhaul of Arsene Wenger's squad

Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi have already drawn up a list of targets for the summer and at the top of it is a new defence and a new goalkeeper

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Thursday 03 May 2018 13:51
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Arsene Wenger on what he'll be doing after leaving Arsenal

Arsenal do not have a manager for next season but they are starting their summer recruitment already, and want a whole new back five to replace this season’s failed defence.

Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi have already drawn up a list of targets for the summer and at the top of it is a new defence and a new goalkeeper.

Arsenal have conceded 48 Premier League goals this season – more than Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion – and the club have lost faith in the men at the back. So they are interested in a younger alternative for Petr Cech, who turns 36 this month and has just one year left on his Arsenal contract.

Arsenal pair Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (l) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (r) were unveiled by Dortmund with Sokratis (c) in 2013

Ideally Arsenal want Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, who played so well at the Emirates last Thursday, but the 25-year-old may be an unrealistic target, who would cost close to £70m.

Arsenal tried to sell Shkodran Mustafi last summer and he has struggled again this season, making regular high-profile mistakes recently. His partner Laurent Koscielny has not enjoyed his best season either, fighting a long-term Achilles problem and allowing Antoine Griezmann through to score Atletico’s crucial away goal last Thursday.

Now Arsenal want two new centre-backs and Mislintat has identified Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund – his former club – as a priority. Mislintat has already overseen the signings of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang from Dortmund and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, once of Dortmund, from Manchester United.

Oblak is one of the world's best goalkeepers

Then, Arsenal want two new full-backs, with left-back Nacho Monreal now 32 years old, and Juventus expected to move for Hector Bellerin this summer. Arsenal have previously rejected moves from Barcelona and Manchester City to sign Bellerin.

There are question marks over the future of Jack Wilshere, whose contract expires this summer, and Aaron Ramsey, who has one year left and is not in any obvious rush to sign a new one. Given Granit Xhaka’s difficult spell in England so far, Arsenal want a new central midfielder this summer.

Finally, they are looking for a wide forward to complement their front line. And Arsenal are already making progress on these transfer targets now even as they start the process to find Wenger’s replacement for next season.

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