A possible Arsenal starting lineup with Kai Havertz and Declan

A possible Arsenal starting lineup with Kai Havertz and Declan Rice

According to reports, Arsenal has successfully completed the signings of two exceptional young players who are not only among the best in the Premier League but also in global football.

Kai Havertz, formerly of Chelsea, joins Arsenal after experiencing two underwhelming seasons. However, prior to that, he played a crucial role as an attacking hero for the Chelsea squad that secured the 2020/21 Champions League title. Even earlier, Havertz garnered significant acclaim as one of the most highly regarded young players worldwide during his time at Bayer Leverkusen. It was this reputation that led to his transfer to Chelsea for a staggering fee of 80 million euros. Interestingly, Arsenal managed to secure his services for a slightly lower sum of approximately 75 million euros.

On the other hand, Declan Rice was an even more coveted target for Arsenal, and as a result, his price tag reflects his stature. Regarded as one of the finest central midfielders in the world, Rice’s acquisition will cost Arsenal 100 million pounds, with an additional five million pounds in bonuses. This substantial amount was necessary to convince West Ham, his previous club, to part ways with the exceptionally talented midfielder. Furthermore, Arsenal had to outbid their Premier League title rivals, Manchester City, to secure Rice’s signature.

Considering the additions of Rice and Havertz, how will they integrate into the Arsenal squad and contribute to the team’s success after finishing in second place during the 2022/23 Premier League season?

Here is a potential starting lineup that incorporates both players.

Defense

GK Aaron Ramsdale

LB Oleksandr Zinchenko

CB Gabriel Magalhães

CB William Saliba

RB Ben White

Let’s begin with the right side of the defense, as it is the only area where a potential transfer could take place. Arsenal may consider signing a young, natural right back to gain experience in that position, and one potential option is Iván Fresneda from Real Valladolid.

However, it is worth noting that Ben White brings a great deal of defensive stability to the team and can also drop into midfield to provide added resilience against counterattacks. Despite being primarily a center back, White showcased his abilities as one of the Premier League’s best right backs last season.

Moving on to the central defense, Arsenal boasts one of the finest young duos in world football, both aged 25 or under, which means they can dominate together for years to come. Gabriel and William Saliba offer complementary profiles, with Saliba demonstrating long-term potential, particularly in terms of ball-playing abilities, while Gabriel brings a valuable tenacity and grit to the defense.

On the left side, Oleksandr Zinchenko stands out as one of the most technically gifted left backs globally. He often plays an inverted role, acting as a midfielder who excels in possession recycling, precise passing, and advancing play for the attacking line. Zinchenko’s importance will increase further if Mikel Arteta opts for an aggressive formation featuring players like Kai Havertz, Martin Ødegaard, and Gabriel Jesus in the same starting lineup.

In goal, Aaron Ramsdale possesses a warrior-like mentality and tends to elevate his performance during crucial moments. While he may not be considered the absolute best goalkeeper in the Premier League, he is certainly among the top contenders for that distinction.

Midfield

DM Declan Rice

LAM Kai Havertz

RAM Martin Ødegaard

The midfield is where Arsenal faces more flexibility and decisions, with potential departures of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, while even Jorginho’s future is uncertain. However, regardless of transfer rumors, this midfield trio comprises the three best players in Arsenal’s midfield.

Arteta is expected to work his magic to find a way to field all three of them together, thanks to the quality of the wingers and the playing styles of the fullbacks. A combination of Martin Ødegaard and Kai Havertz can form a potent attacking duo, especially considering the flexibility and playing styles of the team’s wingers.

It is worth noting that Manchester City employed a flexible back three formation with an elite anchoring defensive midfielder and two world-class attacking midfielders, which proved successful in winning multiple titles last year.

Martin Ødegaard’s position in the team is undisputed, as he is regarded as one of the most important players in the Premier League. He has the ability to change games with crucial goals or assists, particularly in clutch moments. Over time, Ødegaard has evolved into a true leader and has become more actively involved in the team’s defensive efforts.

Declan Rice will serve as a foundational piece in Arteta’s setup, initiating moves from midfield and providing defensive screening for the backline. He possesses exceptional skills in all aspects required of an anchoring midfielder and will be exciting to watch as he connects the defense with the attack. As Rice continues to mature, his ability to pick out killer passes from deep areas for Arsenal’s talented forwards will only improve.

Although primarily listed as an attacking midfielder, Kai Havertz will play a role closer to a second striker, which suits him better. He will have the freedom to play off Gabriel Jesus, interchanging positions with the striker and even with the left winger, Gabriel Martinelli. It will be crucial to create shooting opportunities for Havertz, utilizing his trusty right foot, and his near-misses have the potential to become contenders for the Goal of the Season. Both Havertz and Jesus are willing to contribute physically, and with the work rate of the wingers, concerns about defensive stability should be minimal. These players are committed to putting in the effort on both ends of the pitch.

Forwards

LW Gabriel Martinelli

CF Gabriel Jesus

RW Bukayo Saka

The attacking trident comprising Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Kai Havertz is widely recognized as one of the best and most balanced attacking trios in the world of football. Their qualities of youth, hunger, industry, creativity, and selflessness make them a formidable force.

Bukayo Saka had an exceptional season, standing out as one of the top performers across Europe’s major leagues. With 14 goals and 11 assists, he showcased dazzling end product while maintaining an incredible intensity on the field. Saka’s contributions included winning possession, carrying the ball, recycling possession, providing width, and taking on defenders, all while performing at the highest level. His partnership with the electrifying Martinelli, who possesses immense long-term potential as one of the best wingers in the Premier League, forms a perfect combination.

Gabriel Jesus had a successful first season with Arsenal, despite being criticized by some pundits for not scoring enough. However, his impact extended far beyond goal-scoring, as he emerged as the attacking leader and a catalyst for chaos in the team. Jesus brings a well-rounded skill set and will play a crucial role, particularly with Havertz joining the squad. With time, the duo of Jesus and Havertz has the potential to dismantle defenses with devastating one-twos and intricate combination play.

Overall, the attacking trio of Saka, Martinelli, and Havertz possesses immense talent and the ability to make a significant impact for Arsenal.

A possible Arsenal starting lineup with Kai Havertz and Declan Rice

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