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Arsenal Fight On As Title Credentials Are There But Could Guehi Be The Difference

Following on from last season’s bitter disappointment for Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta as our long battle for the Premier League title slipped away from us at basically the death of the season, our 42 year old Spanish gaffer was determined to go one better in the 2023/24 campaign.

He was certainly backed by the board during the last summer window and we saw the big money arrivals of the likes of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and the £105 million capture of Declan Rice. Added to the loan deal for goalkeeper David Raya, we have again had a very good campaign this year and whilst it has not always gone our way, and there were moments when we have made life a little bit more difficult for ourselves, we are well placed as we go into the month of May.

With three games remaining in the domestic Premier League campaign, for those fans who like a flutter match day odds and free bet offers for the upcoming games will probably be incredibly tasty indeed, given what the results could mean for the true business end of the year. We are, of course, up against AFC Bournemouth, Manchester United and Everton and we have now hopefully beaten off the challenge posed by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team as they sit five points behind us.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side are a different question though. We have a one point advantage, but they have a game in hand, so it is all to play for and we simply have to ensure we take the remaining nine points from our games to keep the pressure on the Etihad outfit, as many would think there is at least one slip up left in them, and if it happens we just have to be in a position to make it count.

Irrespective of whether Arteta does get to go one step further though, the vast majority of fans will believe that this has been another good year for us and we are more than clearly showing signs of being consistent challengers, and fans would have their own ideas on where we could more quickly improve the squad yet again this coming summer and we are already seeing plenty of summer transfer window rumour mill links.

One of the more interesting ones in the eyes of Gunners fans may well be the existing tentative links to Crystal Palace’s young centre half, Marc Guehi. The 23 year old has more than proved his worth for the Selhurst Park outfit, and his form and performances have already seen England manager Gareth Southgate reward him with nine international caps for his country, and he has proven to be worth every single penny of the reported £18 million they paid to Chelsea to bring him in during the summer of 2021.

As he closes in on his 24th birthday, he already has over 100 appearances to his name for Palace, and next season he will crash through the 200 career appearance milestone unless injuries get in the way.

For a whole variety of reasons, he understandably ticks quite a few boxes that Arteta would be looking for when it came to further bolstering the centre of our defence for the year ahead. Having been linked with the likes of us and Manchester United for quite a while now, the latest pivot is that Palace are now open to the idea of trying to cash in on him this summer, and with two years remaining on his existing contract at the club, they would be holding out for a valuation believed to be in the region of £55 million.

That would obviously be a new club record for them following on from the £50 million sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United back in 2019. There may well be something in this though as there are already existing claims that we have already been actively scouting him, so we were well positioned to make a decision should the opportunity to sign him this summer actually present itself.

Guehi is obviously out on the sidelines right now, as he underwent knee surgery back in February with hopes of being fit and in contention for the upcoming 2024 European Championships, and whilst he seems on target for that, it is less sure that he will feature for Palace again this campaign. If the reports about Palace’s intentions are true here, they are no doubt hoping that he impresses on the international stage and garners plenty of interest so that they can maximise the deal from their side – as obviously, from their point of view (if a new deal is not signed) their bargaining power is significantly reduced this time next year.

This could well be one worth watching.

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