Arsenal’s pre-season campaign did not get off to the best of starts on Tuesday evening as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Hibernian.
It should be said that all criticism of the Gunners’ display should be tempered by the fact that it was only their first game of the season, but a slow and sluggish performance pointed to how much work they have still to do in this summer’s transfer market.
“He (Tavares) didn’t have all the paperwork necessary to be involved today,” the Spaniard told football.london after the game. “But hopefully that will be all ready to go and he can have his debut on Saturday against Rangers.”
From Arteta’s other post-match words though, it would seem there will be a few more faces following Tavares through the in door at the Emirates Stadium.
football.london understands that the deal for Albert Sambi Lokonga is close to being completed, although the Belgian will not join up with the Arsenal training camp who have travelled up to Scotland as they are currently in a COVID bubble.
The 21-year-old midfielder is expected to finalise his £18m move from Anderlecht soon and could be part of the group who fly out to America for games in the Florida Cup next week.
Ben White is also nearing his transfer to the Gunners from Brighton football.london understands.
The England international is currently on holiday after being part of the Three Lions’ squad at Euro 2020 this summer, but looks set to seal a £50m move relatively soon.
This would take Arsenal’s total number of summer arrivals up to three, but it seems that they have no intention of stopping there.
Goalkeeper is a position they are looking to strengthen in, after Mat Ryan – who spent the second half of last season on loan from Brighton – sealed a permanent transfer to Real Sociedad this week where he will be given the chance to be a number one stopper.
Youngster Arthur Okonkwo was handed a contract extension last week and given the number 33 shirt, sealing his official promotion to the first team.
He celebrated that news with his first ever senior start for the Gunners on Tuesday at Easter Road, but after making a horrible error for Hibernian’s opener, Arteta revealed the role he is set to play in the squad next season.
“He’s confident in the relationship with his teammates and everything,” said the Spaniard to press after the game. It’s time to support him. He is our third goalkeeper and we need to give him confidence.”
The fact that Okonkwo was referred to as the third choice goalkeeper would suggest that a new signing is set to come in this summer to play back up to Bernd Leno.
Runar Alex Runarsson was signed to fill this role last campaign, but after a string of error-ridden displays it seems the Iceland international will leave North London this transfer window. He was not even involved in the squad for Tuesday’s game Karl Hein being chosen ahead of him.
football.london understands that Arsenal are looking at bringing in a homegrown player to fill this role, with Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale among those being looked at, while rumours linking David Raya of Brentford refuse to go away due to the Spaniard’s relationship with Gunners’ goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana.
There is also the possibility that Leno himself could leave this summer. The German international is open to a move away from the club and with just two years left on his deal Arsenal would be happy to sell at the right price.
This would open the door for a potential move for Ajax’s Andre Onana, although the Cameroon international is attracting plenty of interest from elsewhere due to the fact that he is available for a small fee this summer with just twelve months remaining on his deal in Amsterdam.