The only way is up?

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Last season Arsenal ended eighth in the Premier League before lifting the FA Cup at the start of August, and with a Community Shield swiftly following there will be renewed hope that under Mikel Arteta the club are going places - or have at the very least built a platform to reach even greater heights in the coming years.

Transfers in

  • Willian (Arsenal, free) - details
  • Cedric Soares (Southampton, undisclosed) - details
  • Pablo Mari (Flamengo, undisclosed) - details
  • Gabriel Magalhaes (Lille, £27m) - details
  • Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid, loan) - details
  • George Lewis (Larvik, free)
  • Tim Akinola (Huddersfield, free)
  • Salah-Eddine (Feyenoord, free)
  • Jonathan Dizeyi (Spurs, free)

A summer well spent, and wisely too, by Arsenal so far. When Willian walked through the door in mid-August technical director Edu stressed it was just the start of a "big process" and "rebalance", and that has certainly come to fruition in the weeks since.

Re-signing Dani Ceballos for another season on loan is a lovely bit of business given the Spaniard was improving as the last campaign went on, while fans will be eager to see centre-backs Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba in action.

Gabriel Magalhaes has joined Arsenal from Lille

Image credit: Getty Images

Transfers out

  • Tobi Omole (Released)
  • Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart, loan)
  • Trae Coyle (Gillingham, loan)
  • Matt Smith (Swindon, loan)
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Roma, free)

No significant departures beyond Henrikh Mkhitaryan agreeing to terminate his contract and join Roma on a free.

Possible further moves

The transfer window between England and other European leagues closes on October 5, and so there is time for Arsenal to strike a few more deals that are reportedly in the offing.

Thomas Partey tops their most-wanted list, but given the Atletico Madrid midfielder will reportedly cost £45m then Arsenal have to sell a player first, with Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette the two first-team players who could command the highest fee and are not deemed indispensable.

Thomas Partey to Arsenal?

Image credit: Getty Images

West Ham's Felipe Anderson was a surprise name linked with Arsenal recently, while Philippe Coutinho could be made available should Ronald Koeman decide the Brazilian is not part of his plans at Barcelona.

In terms of outgoings, beyond Lacazette and Bellerin, Lucas Torreira is being linked with a loan to Fiorentina, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is attracting interest from Wolves and Newcastle, while the latter are also considering a loan move for defender Rob Holding.

Any other changes?

The wait goes on... Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is yet to sign a new deal with Arsenal and so the saga rumbles on. Needless to say the striker is a vital cog in the wheel should they want to achieve top four this season.

There is also the small matter of Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi to resolve. New season, new start? Or same old, same old? Mikel Arteta's first handful of selections will enlighten us on whether the midfield duo have a future at the club.

Does Mesut Özil have a future at Arsenal?

Image credit: Getty Images

And other changes - quite a few behind the scenes in the form of departures. The club announced they would have to make 55 redundancies amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and that has seen head of football Raul Sanllehi and Spanish scout Francis Cagigao among the names leaving.

There was talk of Dennis Bergkamp returning after assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg left, but that has not materialised, though Arsenal have bolstered their backroom staff 'line-up' with Carlos Cuesta, Andreas Georgson and Miguel Molina.

Predictions

It became a running joke in the second half of Arsene Wenger's spell as manager, but now it seems like a realistic position to aim for. Fourth.

Of course the Gunners will be targeting a higher finish, but in this game of cat and mouse where the clubs behind Liverpool have spent big to catch up with them, it is very difficult to see Arsenal matching Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea - over the course of a season, anyway, although in one game, why not.

With Chelsea investing heavily and United getting the ball rolling with Donny van de Beek, Arsenal will know they are outsiders for a top-four finish. It is something they will aim for, and something they will also expect even if they are a little behind. That being said, the defensive reinforcement could close the gap significantly, and with Aubameyang at the other end anything is possible.

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