Virgil Van Dijk: He was linked extensively to arsenal over the course of last year – this was met with middling reception due to him playing in the SPL – a significant quality drop from the EPL. He then moved to Southampton and emphatically proved the doubters wrong having a phenomenal season replacing Toby Alderwiereld. In this Arsenal side he would be asked to play sweeper behind Koscielny’s aggressor – something he is more than capable of. His aerial ability would help in replacing Mertesacker as well.
Lassana Diara: I know what your thinking: Chelsea. Well so what? He’s a serial winner having the won the EPL, FA cup (twice), league cup, La Liga, the Copa del rey and finished runners up in the Coupe de France (which as PSG are streets ahead of everyone else is functionally equivalent to winning). Also he fits well – excellent passer and tackler plus can dribble as well (making him more than capable as a number 8). And no complaining he isn’t good enough – most Arsenal fans have been complaining they didn’t get Morgan Schneiderlin, well guess which one is in the Euro 2016 squad (hint: its not Schneiderlin).
Iker Muniain, I have to say I have been disappointed at his progression – 3 years ago when he was 19 or 20 he was brilliant and last season he had regressed. This season however (though injury hit) he has been back to his best – Dribbling and attracting defenders (leading to him earning lots of free kicks in areas Cazorla will relish), releasing the ball at excellent times (good passer as well) before darting back into space. His love of layoffs will also be loved by a lot of Arsenal’s players – especially who I’m suggesting should play up front…
Kevin Gameiro – loves short passes, running the channels, is lightning quick, brilliant at latching onto through balls and a wonderful finisher – not only do these characteristics suit arsenal very well, but can you imagine a player Ozil would enjoy playing with more? It would suit him perfectly. Honestly I’m surprised Gameiro hasn’t been linked to Arsenal – but he absolutely should.
With these four changes Arsenal end up lining up like this:
This team is not what I expect to happen, this is what I think would make and excellent XI that is both approaching a dream scenario but still well within the realms of possibility. New addition are written in all capital in the formation along with possible squad numbers.
First I shall explain my additions.
Kieren Trippier: He is second choice at Spurs currently but is by no means a bad player – swap him and Walker around and the difference in quality is tiny – hence Pochenttino doing so so often. However If Leicester did come for him the allure of playing every week as a guaranteed starter for the champions in the UCL would undoubtedly be alluring. For Spurs it wouldn’t be that big of an issue as they have DeAndre Yedlin returning from loan who has improved since going to Sunderland. Overall Trippier’s balance of impactful crossing and attacking ability along with the defensive nous he needed during Burnley’s (unsuccessful) relegation fight would make him an excellent choice.
Angel Correa: Probably the least likely to happen but would fit in very well. Atleti are often (somewhat inaccurately) referred to as Spain’s Leicester and though I don’t agree with the comparison in most cases I understand why it is being made. Both teams require defensive work rate and prefer to let the other team have the ball before hitting them on the counter (though for Atleti this is really just restricted to Real Madrid, Barca and Bayern). Tactically though he would slot in behind Vardy as a creative second striker/number 10 hybrid – dropping into midfield to clog central areas but also pressing high up the pitch when needed – essentially the role Okazaki plays right now; but with all respect to him, Correa is simply a better player.
Jese Rodriguez: The real wildcard here. Never before played in a team that requires defensive work from his wingers like Leicester do – and though his defensive work is fine – he will have to adapt. But if he did settle it would be a real boon for him – Vazquez is favourite of Zidane (and also from La Fabrica) and other competitors like Isco and James demanding games for political reasons plus the BBC being immovable objects game time will be small for Jese. At Leicester however he will be playing in the UCL as a vital part of the attack, using his searing pace and dribbling to lead counters alongside players like Vardy and Mahrez – improving with regular game time and likely threatening the national setup. Slotting in on the left and cutting inside (despite my personal opinion that being on the right suits him better and allows him to use his pace more effectively) the Leicester attack could be a force to be reckoned with.
With these three additions the result is this: