How Arsenal could line up next season with FOUR ex-Man City stars and Declan Rice in new-look XI | The Sun
ARSENAL are beginning to lick their wounds after the cruellest of ends to a season.
But Mikel Arteta is already putting plans together for a fresh title challenge next term.
And he could end up with FOUR ex-Man City star’s in his first XI — as well as top target Declan Rice.
Arsenal saw any chance of winning their first title since 2004 disappear with defeat to Brighton last weekend.
A shocking collapse after leading the race for 93 per cent of the season means City could clinch their third straight title by Saturday evening.
However, Arteta is refusing to take his eyes off the prize and is already planning for the next campaign.
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Arsenal boast two former Etihad stars in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko among their ranks.
But fresh reports claim they are now ready to raid City again for two more.
The first is flying wing-back Joao Cancelo, currently on loan at Bayern Munich.
Despite being a star defender in his first two seasons, the Portugal ace fell victim to Guardiola’s change of formation this term.
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Cancelo, 28, is unlikely to have a future when he returns to City this summer.
And Arsenal are now hoping to open negotiations at the end of the season.
The other City slick in Arteta’s sights is said to be Ilkay Gundogan.
Pep’s German captain, 32, has exploded into life once again towards the end of term.
But he is out of contract this summer and has refused to commit his future to City.
SunSport understands Barcelona are leading the charge to sign Gundogan.
But the Spaniards continue to be wrapped up in financial difficulties.
Re-signing Lionel Messi is their priority.
And that could open the door for Arsenal to make Gundogan an offer he can’t refuse.
Finally, Arteta is ready to smash the club’s transfer record for West Ham and England star Rice, 24.
Arsenal’s current top fee stands at £72million, which they paid Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019.
But with Granit Xhaka going to Bayer Leverkusen, plus doubts over the long-term futures of Thomas Partey and Jorginho, a midfield shake-up is needed.
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Rice is eager to play Champions League football next season.
And Arsenal are willing to pay up to £90m to prise the anchorman from the Hammers.
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