Arsenal news takes a look at what Mikel Arteta’s squad could look like on the opening day of the 2023/24 season if the club can finalise their ideal transfer business

Arsenal are on course to hit the ground running when their 2023/24 Premier League season gets underway against Nottingham Forest on August 12.

Just like last summer, the Gunners are in the process of getting their main transfer business done nice and early. So far, they’ve confirmed the signing of Kai Havertz in a £65million deal from London rivals Chelsea, have an agreement in principle with West Ham United over a £105million club-record deal for Declan Rice and are making good progress to sign Ajax defender Jurrien Timber.

Ideally, the remaining two deals will be wrapped up either before Mikel Arteta’s side take on Nurnberg in their first pre-season fixture on July 13 or before July 20 when the north London outfit face an MLS All-Star team as part of their tour of the United States of America.

This is because the new signings would be able to integrate with their new teammates during pre-season and the importance of building squad cohesion will not be lost on the Arsenal manager as it was ultimately the catalyst for a Premier League title challenge last season.

The Spaniard had his squad in place before the opener against Crystal Palace just over a year ago and therefore takes a look at what must happen between now and August 12 for Arteta to have his ideal 20-man matchday squad when Nottingham Forest arrive in N5.

Now in between the sticks, there is a fairly straightforward decision for Arteta to make as there’s no reason why Aaron Ramsdale should not continue as the first-choice option against Forest with Matt Turner – who saved a penalty on international duty – remaining as his understudy on the substitutes’ bench.

In defence, William Saliba will likely resume his partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes provided he’s recovered from a back injury that has sidelined him since the middle of March and it’s also safe to assume Benjamin White and Oleksandr Zinchenko will start in the full-back positions.

In the engine room, Havertz has arrived, Rice is on the way and it would not be a surprise if the pair start alongside captain Martin Odegaard in a new-look midfield three against Forest, whilst in attack Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are arguably the first-choice options.

However, the Spaniard will face a few squad selection dilemmas when he has a fully fit squad. For example, he usually opts for three defensive players on the bench so Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding could miss out, if they stay, in favour of Timber, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jakub Kiwior.

If Thomas Partey leaves amid reported interest from Juventus and clubs in Saudi Arabia, Romeo Lavia, for example, could be brought in as his replacement and earn a place on the bench alongside Emile Smith Rowe but there’s a chance one of Jorginho, Fabio Vieira or Mohamed Elneny would miss out.

This leaves Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson – once he signs his new contract – to battle it out for the remaining spots on the bench. However, there’s a scenario where two of the trio watch the game from behind the bench – if the Gunners were to sign a forward with Wilfried Zaha available on a free transfer.

Realistically, Edu could complete deals for Rice, Timber and Lavia before Arsenal kick off the 2023/24 campaign on August 12 and there’s a chance that all four summer signings – including Havertz – will be named in the matchday squad by Arteta in an attempt to get off to a winning start once again.

With regard to Granit Xhaka, Marquinhos, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nicolas Pepe and Folarin Balogun they could all be gone before the first game of the new season and it’s difficult to imagine Auston Trusty, Nuno Tavares or Cedric Soares being part of Arteta’s plans if they’ve not managed to find a new club beforehand.

Arsenal’s ideal matchday squad vs Nottingham Forest after four signings

Goalkeepers: Ramsdale, Turner

Defenders: Saliba, Gabriel, White, Zinchenko, Kiwior, Timber, Tomiyasu

Midfielders: Odegaard, Rice, Havertz, Smith Rowe, Jorginho, Lavia

Forwards: Saka, G. Jesus, Martinelli, Trossard, Nketiah


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