Arsenal's perfect summer revealed: Jesus joins, Saka signs and Saliba stays

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Gabriel Jesus Bukayo Saka William Saliba Arsenal GFXGetty/GOAL

From transfers to contracts, there is an awful lot of work to do at Arsenal this summer.

After last season's disappointing finish, Mikel Arteta will be desperate to ensure his squad is ready to hit the ground running when the Premier League resumes in August.

But to do that, there are plenty of things that need to be sorted to give the Gunners the best possible chance of getting their ambitious project back on track.

Below, GOAL takes a look at what needs to be done to make this a perfect summer for Arsenal...

  • Gabriel Jesus Manchester City 2022Getty Images

    Signing Jesus

    Arsenal went into the summer with one clear priority in the transfer market.

    With Alexandre Lacazette leaving and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having departed a few months earlier, the need for a new central striker was clear.

    Even with Eddie Nketiah signing a new contract, bringing in a new frontman was always going to be crucial to Arsenal’s summer.

    Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus was the man they identified as their priority target and lots of work has gone into bringing the four-time Premier League winner to north London.

    Mikel Arteta has been desperate to get Jesus as he is the player he wants to make the focal point of his attack.

    The £45 million ($55m) deal has now been done and the striker completed his medical on Tuesday before spending the afternoon meeting his new team-mates during a visit to Arsenal's training centre at London Colney.

    An official announcement is forthcoming and when it does arrive, it will be the hugely important moment in Arsenal's summer.

  • Lisandro Martinez Ajax 2021-22Getty Images

    Winning the race for Martinez and landing a winger

    Jesus is not the only priority when it comes to transfers for Arsenal.

    Although signing a central striker is crucial, they also want to add another wide player to their attacking options and have targeted Raphinha.

    An offer was made to Leeds United for the winger, but it was rejected and Chelsea are now believed to be closing in on the 25-year-old.

    Arteta wants to transform his attacking options and add far more goal threat to his squad and the addition of Raphinha, added to the arrival of Jesus, would certainly have done that.

    But even if they lose out to Chelsea, which now looks likely, there is plenty of time to move on to other targets and bring someone in who can bolster Arsenal's attacking options.

    The move for Raphinha shows the Gunners are prepared to invest heavily on a wide player and they will have several other options on their list.

    If they find the right player, then Arteta's attack will have a fresh new look to it by the start of the season.

    Strengthening in defence is also key to Arsenal's summer and they are pushing hard to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax.

    Manchester United are also keen on the Argentina defender, who can play at centre-back, left-back or in defensive midfield.

    Arsenal have already bid twice for Martinez and are hoping to get a deal done ahead of their Premier League rivals.

    Winning the race for the 24-year-old would be a major boost to the Gunners.

  • Arsenal and Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe.Getty.

    Finding a buyer for Pepe

    Technical director Edu has a lot of big jobs on his hands this summer, none more difficult than trying to find a club for Nicolas Pepe.

    The Ivory Coast international arrived amid huge fanfare in 2019 when Arsenal spent a club record £72m ($88m) to sign him from Lille.

    But despite some flashes of quality, inconsistency has plagued his time in north London and he is now very much on the periphery of things under Arteta.

    Arsenal would like to move him on this summer and the player, who switched agents a couple of months ago, is also keen to try something new.

    But his high wages and Arsenal’s hopes of recouping at least some of the huge fee they spent on him just three years ago, make any potential deal difficult to pull off.

    It’s a major headache for the club, one that Edu has to try and cure.

  • Bukayo Saka Arsenal 2022Getty

    Sorting Saka's contract

    Another vitally important part of Arsenal’s summer.

    Bukayo Saka is Arsenal’s jewel in the crown right now and he only has two years left on his contract.

    Securing his long-term future is crucial and it has to be done as soon as possible. 

    Arsenal simply can’t afford to let the winger get down to the final year of his current deal. It would leave them in such a precarious position.

    Saka has been player of the season two years in a row and deserves to be rewarded with a contract that reflects his importance to the side.

    If he’s not, then every single top club across Europe will be knocking on his agent’s door – if they are not already.

  • torreira fiorentina-veneziaGetty Images

    Selling Torreira, Mari, Leno & Co.

    Shifting what many describe as the ‘dead wood’ has proved to be extremely difficult for Arsenal in recent years.

    So much so that the club has had to resort to paying a number of their players to leave.

    This summer they are again faced with trying to find clubs for several players who do not appear to have a future with Arsenal.

    Pepe has already been discussed, but then there is the likes of Lucas Torreira, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Hector Bellerin and Bernd Leno.

    Those are players who could all command a good transfer fee and bring much-needed revenue into the club.

    Edu has come in for some stinging criticism in the past due to the difficulties he has faced when trying to sell players.

    It’s something he must find some success with this time around as Arteta will not want to be left with many unhappy and unwanted players going into the new season.

  • Arsenal celebrating Gabriel Martinelli 2021-22Getty Images

    Securing Martinelli

    Another contract renewal that needs to be immediately signed.

    Like Saka, Martinelli has lots of admirers and also has just two years left on his contract.

    The longer he goes without putting pen to paper on an extension, the more the speculation surrounding his future will increase.

    Martinelli has always said the right things about his desire to stay at Arsenal for the long-term, so hopefully this should not be a difficult negotiation to get sorted this summer.

    Over to you, Edu!

  • Kieran Tierney, Arsenal 2021-22Getty

    Ensuring Tierney and Partey are fully fit

    If Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey had remained injury-free during the final two months of last season, Arsenal would surely be preparing for a return to the Champions League right now.

    The loss of such an important duo at such a key stage of the campaign was a hammer blow and Arsenal’s performances suffered as a result.

    Both are now expected to play a big part in pre-season having recovered from their respective injury issues and it’s imperative that Arsenal handle them with care during the opening months of the coming campaign.

    Getting them through all the friendlies so that they are fully fit and ready for the start of the season will be huge for Arteta and Arsenal's chances of a strong start.

  • Saliba-Marseille-Conference-LeagueGetty

    Saliba impressing in pre-season

    After three years, it looks like we are finally going to get our first proper look at William Saliba in an Arsenal shirt.

    It’s something the fans have been crying out for since his move from St Etienne, so the spotlight will be firmly on the Frenchman during pre-season.

    With so much talk about his future during his time on loan at Marseille last season, he will be desperate to impress and to show everyone what he is really about.

    If he can come in and perform at the level that he produced during his stint in France then that will automatically leave Arsenal looking far stronger in terms of their defensive options going into the new Premier League campaign.

    It should also drive Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White on to better performances, knowing Saliba is waiting in the wings to take one of their spots in Arteta's starting XI.

  • Charlie Patino Arsenal 2021-22Getty Images

    Patino seizing his chance

    There always seems to be a breakout star in pre-season and Charlie Patino could be that man this summer.

    The young midfielder gave us all a glimpse of his talent when he came off the bench to score on his debut against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup in December.

    But injury then saw him sidelined for much of the second half of the campaign and halted his progress.

    Patino is now fully fit, however, and looking to make a big impression during pre-season.

    He has not been earmarked as one of the youngsters who will be sent out on loan, so a strong summer could put him firmly in Arteta’s plans over the next few months.

    Arsenal’s manager needs a strong squad with European football returning this season and with the new five-sub rule that has been introduced in the Premier League.

    So, if Patino can make a big impression this summer, he will give Arteta another valuable option ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

  • Mikel Arteta Arsenal Getty Images

    Avoiding the usual summer mayhem

    This may sound obvious, but it’s something Arsenal have been unable to avoid in recent years.

    If it’s not been their captain refusing to board the coach for the pre-season tour of America, it’s been a Covid-19 outbreak leaving the squad decimated on the eve of their opening game.

    Arsenal has been like a soap opera at times during the past few seasons and Arteta will be hoping that this summer he can just focus on getting his squad ready for the season without anything going wrong.

    The fixture list has been relatively kind to Arsenal and if they can get everyone fit and ready for Crystal Palace on August 5, they have a very good opportunity to lay down an early marker in the Premier League.