Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has already told fans how many signings the club will make in an ideal world this summer as the Gunners close in on deals for West Ham skipper Declan Rice and Dutch defender Jurrien Timber.
Having finished second last season, Arsenal have wasted no time strengthening their side so far this summer, with Kai Havertz having already joined the club from Chelsea and two further deals in the pipeline.
But how many signings are the Gunners realistically going to make this summer? Fortunately, Mikel Arteta has already given us that answer all the way back in 2022, when he was discussing his ideal squad size.
“If you can financially afford it and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers,” he said. “You have to come a long way in the aspects that you see on the pitch, it’s a lot of things that have to be put in place, and that takes time.”
As things stand, the arrival of Rice and Timber (as well as the addition of Reiss Nelson again) will take Arsenal’s squad to a massive 31 players including those from the senior squad that spent last season on loan.
However, Nicolas Pepe, Nuno Tavares, Cedric Soares, Auston Trusty, Marquinhos and Albert Sambi Lokonga (all of whom were on loan last season) are expected to depart once more this summer either on loan or permanently, taking the squad down to 25, three more than Arteta’s ideal size.
Added to that is the expected departure of Granit Xhaka, who has agreed a move to Bayern Leverkusen in a deal worth around 25m euros after seven years with the Gunners.
Throw in moves away for one of backup striker duo Eddie Nketiah or Folarin Balogun, plus the seemingly likely departures of Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney and Arteta will be left with just 21 outfield players.
In all likelihood, then, one more signing will be needed after the arrivals already expected to happen, plus any more to cover extra outgoings (such as Thomas Partey, who has been linked with a move away this summer).
That would likely come at left-back, with Tierney’s rumoured departure leaving only Oleksandr Zinchenko as Arteta’s only option on that side, though January signing Jakub Kiwior filled in during the final two games of the season.
It takes Arsenal’s magic number to four (new signings) plus a potential fifth should Thomas Partey leave (and more should other established first team players depart).
With three of those already through the door with the reported impending arrivals of Rice and Timber, attentions will now turn to outgoings, but three and a half years after taking charge of the club, Arteta could finally be closing in on his perfect squad.