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Open letter to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the new season

A 16th consecutive year of Champions League football awaits but a league challenge is possible with smart signings up front.

Arsene Wenger hugs Mikel Arteta after Arsenal beat Newcastle to finish fourth.
Arsene Wenger hugs Mikel Arteta after Arsenal beat Newcastle to finish fourth.
Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

DEAR ARSENE WENGER,

It didn’t look likely halfway through last season but somehow you rallied the troops — yet again — and got your team into the Champions League for a 16th year. It’s not quite a trophy win, as you often claim, but a record to be extremely proud of.

Theo Walcott, on your preseason tour to Asia, is saying that he is targeting the Premier League title. Fair play to Theo for saying the words but there will have to be some astute signings to give your side a hope in hell of challenging the top three of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and the Manchesters of United and City.

With so much change and turbulence in the upper echelons of the league this summer, the chance is here for your side to have a sneaky dart at glory. Here are a few suggestions to consider if Theo’s dreams are to become reality.

Get a striker, maybe two

Gunners fans all love Thierry Henry but if they are linked with another two-month loan stint with the New York Red Bulls man this January, they are liable to lose their minds. The experiment with Walcott playing up front worked, to a large extent, late last season and Olivier Giroud may be a better man for his year’s experience in the Premier League.

However, with Gervinho producing a mix of sublime and ridiculous and Lukas Podolski confirming his reputation as a 10-12 goal a season man, a serious goalscorer is needed. Wayne Rooney is agitating for a move to London so match whatever Chelsea are, give him a sweet deal on his image rights and guarantee him first team football in a World Cup season. David Villa rejected your advances to join Atletico Madrid but making a move for Luis Suarez is a positive sign. He is another that would love it if you rolled out the red carpet and make him feel loved.

The asking price is steep but Higuain has the game to prosper in England. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

However, if you have £50m knocking about at The Emirates, sign up Gonzalo Higuain and Christian Benteke. Both men want a move and would love to play in a team with attacking intentions and guaranteed Champions League football.

Freshen up the back four

You seem beholden to Wojciech Szczesny as your first-choice goalkeeper but you missed a trick a few years back in not going for solid back-up in the form of Mark Schwarzer, now at Chelsea. Stick with the Pole but get him a firmer and more reliable back four and build from there. Nacho Monreal and Tomas Vermaelen are two totems but Per Mertesacker is, an occasionally goalscoring, liability at the back.

Nicolas N’Koulou is a hardy option at centre-back and, at 22, could be a defensive mainstay if he settles quickly. Right back Gregory van der Wiel is earning some corn at PSG but not a regular in the first-team and apparently an Inter Milan target. Bacary Sagna looked severely disinterested at times last season so get some quality competition in and tell your fellow Frenchman ‘fight or flight’… in French.

But if you do have doubts about Szczesny, and surely you must, then get on to Liverpool and ask after Pepe Reina.

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Use your clause to get Cesc back

‘L’ is for London? (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Andrei Arshavin, Sebastian Squillaci, Denilson, Francis Coquelin and Johan Djorou are either out the door or off the wage bill. With extra money reserves supposedly on tap, make a phone-call to Tito Villanova at Varcelona and see if Cesc Fabregas is willing to come back to a place where he is worshipped as a hero. The Spaniard has a clause in his contract that means he has first refusal at £25m if he is seeking a move away from the Camp Nou [hence United offering £26m].

Victor Wanyama could have been the next Alex Song [another chap you could rescue from Spain] but you showed no interest and let him sign up with Southampton. With the former Celtic man gone south, get on to Toulouse again and see if you can close the deal for holding midfielder Etienne Capoue that you failed to do in January.

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