When it comes to talking transfers and potential signings, Mikel Arteta doesn’t give a lot away.
It appears that the Spaniard has signalled the green light for Arsenal to sign a new winger this summer.
That’s because youngster Omari Hutchinson is expected to go out on loan next season with Championship side Reading showing interest, football.
The 18-year-old has been named amongst the substitutes on eight occasions in the Premier League this season but a new forward – or forwards – coming to the Emirates over the summer could see him struggle to even break into the matchday squad in 2022/23.
Hutchinson has been joined on the first-team bench by fellow academy stars Zak Swanson, Mazeed Ogungbo, Charlie Patino, Marcelo Flores and Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand several times due to injuries and a lack of squad depth.
Although it has been nice to see them get their chance at senior level, Arsenal must improve the balance of the team ahead of next season.
Respectfully, youth cannot always be relied upon, especially at the highest level.
If Arsenal want to progress as a club and compete with some of the best around, whether that be in the Premier League or Europe, quality must always be at the forefront of any plans to bolster the team.
The loan departure of Hutchinson would allow Arteta to begin that process and add experience to a young side.
Another winger whose future is also uncertain is Nicolas Pepe.
London understands the Ivorian was left considering his options in January due to a lack of game time which has seen him start just five Premier League matches all season.
His situation is unlikely to change moving forward, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe all among Arteta’s preferred options.
This only increases the likelihood of a new wide player, or two, arriving this summer.
Considering some of the names that have been linked with a move to the Emirates, Arsenal’s recruitment strategy seems to have an emphasis on adding versatile options who can operate in a number of positions.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, Benfica’s Darwin Nunez and PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo are believed to be on the Gunners‘ shortlist, with all of them comfortable playing anywhere across the frontline.
Further back, reported target Florian Grillitsch can play as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder and even centre-back.
London also understands Arsenal are interested in Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey.
The 19-year-old can play in a slightly advanced left-midfield role or at right-back and is a former teammate of Takehiro Tomiyasu.
There’s no doubt that technical director Edu must sign top quality players over the coming months to complement the younger heads within the squad, but a lack of strength in depth remains a concern and should be addressed as a matter of urgency.