Arsenal face Tottenham challenge once Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber transfers announced


It has been a very successful summer transfer window for Arsenal so far. Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber are the latest additions to follow Kai Havertz, taking the Gunners' spending to near £200million. They have spent nearly £600m now since December 2019 when Mikel Arteta was appointed.

And after threatening to end Manchester City's Premier League dominance last season before ultimately falling short, Arsenal's 2023/24 ambitions are very clear. They want to end their wait for a league title, which is about to stretch into its 20th year.

With that in mind, their summer has been an ambitious one. It has not just been about new signings but new contracts too. Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, William Saliba and Reiss Nelson have all penned new long-term deals.

Keeping Saka and Saliba in particular is hugely important for Arteta and co. and it shows how invested their best players are in the long-term project. And there have been impressive outgoings too, with the £21.5m brought in for Granit Xhaka's exit is more good business.

The north Londoners are on track to be named the 'winners of the transfer window'. Though that tag comes with a major warning, given it was Tottenham who were roundly regarded as the champions of the transfer market 12 months ago before a dismal campaign.

Back then, Antonio Conte signed Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Destiny Udogie, Died Spence, Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Clement Lenglet on loan and made Cristian Romero's loan move permanent. The £60m Richarlison scored just one Premier League goal while Bissouma went from a Brighton mainstay to a Spurs benchwarmer.

Spence made a mere four league appearances while Perisic disappointed and is now poised to leave the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a year later. Lenglet and Romero couldn't stop them conceding a shocking 63 goals in 38 games.

The poor window ultimately led to Antonio Conte's exit and Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason both failed to get adequate results out of the squad too. That's despite the fact Spurs went into the season off the back of finishing fourth the year before. They were being tipped to close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.

But the 2022-23 season ended with them in eighth on 60 points, 11 less than they managed in 2021-22. They also ended 24 points adrift of Arsenal whom they had pipped to fourth by two points 12 months prior.

And Arsenal will be aware that they must now produce results on the pitch to back up their strong business off of it. They will be confident that £105m new boy Declan Rice is the perfect fit for their midfield.

Kai Havertz has the attributes meanwhile to be a very dangerous asset in a No 8 role under Arteta, while full-back Timber will act as a right-sided Oleksandr Zinchenko and can also play as a centre-half. They could yet sign another midfielder with Southampton's Romeo Lavia a target, though any move is likely to hinge on Thomas Partey's Gunners future.

With Champions League football back at the Emirates, Arsenal have much to look forward to this season. But they will need to be careful to avoid any Spurs-like steps backwards after such impressive transfer activity as Arteta seeks to prove last year was no fluke.

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