As Mikel Arteta reviews where Arsenal’s title challenge slipped away, the link between the absence of William Saliba in the closing weeks of the season and the decline in results is inescapable.
It has highlighted the need for top quality reinforcements in one of the key positions on the pitch, with back-ups like Rob Holding clearly not at the elite level required.
And that has led them to consider signing Mohamed Simiakin from RB Leipzig this summer.
The French defender has the right profile for the Gunners – he is only 23, stands over 6 feet tall, and can play either on the right side of defence or centrally. That versatility means he could understudy both Saliba and Ben White at right-back.
In addition, he is not expected to cost more than £30 million, meaning that their will be funds left over to spare from the transfer budget for the Gunners priority, which is adding reinforcements in midfield.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.