How Arsenal’s XI could look on the first day of next season with Pape Gueye and William Saliba

Arsenal had a reasonably busy January transfer window, with Mikel Arteta strengthening his backline with two signings.

Spanish centre-back Pablo Mari arrived on loan from Flamengo until the end of the season, while Cedric Soares also joined from Southampton.

The Gunners were also linked with some bigger names such as RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, but Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi has previously admitted that the club have earmarked the end of the season to initiate a real spending spree.

“Globally, it’s not the strategic window. By definition, that’s the summer window,” said Sanllehi.

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“That’s when you plan the season ahead. Last summer we did an incredible effort where we were very grateful for the support we got from our ownership to really go one step further and make, as I said, a real investment to increase our expectations for the season.

“The winter window is much more tactical.

“Now we’re going to have conversations between Edu and Mikel to see what things we can do or what we should do.

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“But again, the strategical window and the one that Edu and his team are always working for in the longer term is the summer window.”

With that in mind, Mikel Arteta is reportedly closing in on his first permanent signing, as the Gunners boss looks to strengthen his central midfield options.

Reports in France claim Arsenal are nearing an agreement for Le Havre midfielder Pape Gueye, with a fee in the region of €6million being suggested.

The 21-year-old’s contract with Le Havre will expire in June 2021 which means he’s likely to be available for a cut-price deal this summer unless he signs a new deal at the Stade Ocaane.

If Gueye does indeed arrive in north London this summer, here’s a look at how Arsenal’s starting line-up could look on the opening day of next season.

Bernd Leno has been one of Arsenal’s standout performers this season, and has cemented his place as the undisputed number one between the sticks.

Arsenal will welcome William Saliba back to the club at the end of the season, after the French teenager re-joined Saint-Etienne on loan after signing for the Gunners in the summer.

Arsenal have high hopes for Pablo Mari
(Image: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Pablo Mari has several months to convince Arteta that he can displace David Luiz or Sokratis from the back four, but being left-footed certainly gives him an advantage over his teammates with the Spaniard providing more balance in possession when playing out from the back.

Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney should both start, providing there are no fitness issues, while Gueye could slot in alongside Lucas Torreira to form a solid midfield base.

The future of Granit Xhaka is uncertain, after the Swiss international came close to leaving in January.

A move to Hertha Berlin was mooted,…