Whilst the prospective signing of Juan Mata has lightened the fans' mood over transfers, but even if the classy young Spaniard does sign, it does not take away form the fact that we have other main priorities.
Centreback is the most important issue, with one, or even two needed. Vermaelen is our best option but can't be trusted to play every game after he was out all last year. Djourou and Koscielny both had very impressive matches last year, but too often suffer lapses in concentration and make mistakes. Over time they can eradicate these from their game and be excellent defenders, but we don't want them learning week in week out in the first team. Other than those names, Bartley is very young, too young perhaps and the less said about Squillaci the better.
Another weak link in our defence is, and has been over a number of year, the Left Back place. Clichy was another very inconsistent player and continued to make costly mistakes, not progressing into the world beater he could have.
Gibbs and Traore are worse options than Clichy though. Gibbs looks bright but is predominantly a left midfielder and is still learning the position. What doesn't help the young Englishman is the fact that he suffers constant injuries and cannot be relied upon to be first choice at the moment. Traore is even less reliable too. He may have returned a better player since his loan spell at Juventus - as youth expert Jamie Sanderson has stated - but he hasn't been overly impressive in pre-season.
An option for this position is Jose Enrique, who seems desperate to leave Newcastle and the club desperate to sell. With only one year left on his contract, we could easily pick him up for less than 5 million pounds. A bargain option. Enrique is solid defensively, and is an excellent crosser of the ball which is something we lack throughout the squad.
The position that goes unmentioned most regularly though is striker. With Bendtner's exit almost a certainty, the only strikers we have at the club are Van Persie, Chamakh and Vela - who can't play the lone striker role. Van Persie is an excellent option to have upfront and would get into any team in the world with his technique, but like so many Arsenal players he cannot be relied upon to play a whole season due to his injury history.
At some point Van Persie will get injured and we'll have to rely solely on Chamakh and Vela. Since goals win you trophies, a strike force containing those two does not fill me with great expectations. Look at Tottenham, a main reason they missed out on the top 4 last year is because they lack a top European Striker in their ranks. We would enjoy a similar problem is we are left with only Chamakh and Vela.
Chamakh did have a good start to last season, he scored goals and won a lot of penalties at important moments. A lot of his goals may have been easy finished into an empty net, but as long as he's scoring goals we can't criticize him.
After November though, the lanky Moroccan enjoyed a barren spell in front of goal for months. He lacked any presence in front of goal and you wouldn't have put money on his scoring again after the chances he missed. Even in pre-season he didn't look like scoring against very weak Asian opposition.
After waiting a year to get Chamakh, and seeing him in action I don't want him being our second choice striker next year. Our rivals all have amazing strength in depth up front. United have Rooney, Hernandez, Berbatov, as well as Owen, and Wellbeck who have all scored multiple goals in the Premiership.
Chelsea have Torres, Drogba, Anelka and Sturridge and Man City have probablythe most impressive list of all. Tevez, Aguero, Balotelli, Dzeko, Adebayor, Santa Cruz and more. Even Liverpool have Suarez, Carroll and Kuyt and N'gog. Clearly we have to shape up if we are to even think about winning the league.
Even looking at the first team squad number, no-one is filling the number 9 shirt, and that just shows that we lack a true number 9 centre forward. Someone who'll score us goals when it truly matters, like the 90th minute at the Nou Camp. Links with Joel Campbell are decent, the Costa Rican looks very raw but could have all the skills needed to be a quality striker. But we cannot rely on someone adapting form South America at only 19 years old to be our 3rd or 4th choice. We need someone from the Premiership who is capable of scoring goals.
In the next few days I will put out an article on who could be our striker targets. Thanks, and Come on Arsenal in the Emirates Cup today.