Good, a new thread. Let's talk about football.
I basically see it the same way as you GoonerBear.
I think effectively Saliba will be the backup for both CB spots and RB (maybe White plays RB if Tomi is out). The plan is likely to give the lion's share of minutes to our six good defenders and try to only use Holding or Cedric sporadically in lesser competitions. Nuno is very close to his Marseille loan. Overall, I think adding Zinchenko and Saliba will be just as transformative as adding Jesus. The team fell apart when the defense apart and the defense fell apart when we had to go past our best four guys last year. Saliba also just looks really really impressive - like he could realistically be our best defender by the middle of the year. I haven't seen a young CB with a higher ceiling in a long time.
Up front we really need another winger in my view. Not only do we not have great cover for Saka but we just need somebody who can do the same things as Saka and Martinelli in terms of playing outside and inside, stretching the defense vertically, contributing in the buildup and off the ball, etc. I like ESR but he is a different kind of player. I want somebody who can spell Saka and Martinelli and our basic tactical plan doesn't have to change. Pepe is definitely not that guy. Marquinhos could become that guy in time but I wouldn't want to rely on him heavily this year.
It's pretty clear that Jesus will be a huge improvement on Laca and what Auba gave us beforehand in the fall. Just how good he'll be I don't know but the bar is really low. We simply got awful awful play out of the CF position last year.
I think we are fine in midfield as long as Partey doesn't get suspended. Elneny isn't the ideal cover but its not the top priority for me. I think Odegaard will be a mainstay at right 8 and we'll see a rotation of players at the left 8 position, a lot of Xhaka but also a good amount of Vieira and maybe some ESR and some Sambi. I'm very excited to see what Vieira can do. Its frustrating that the injury he picked up on international duty has curtailed his pre-season.
Largely I think we have been done very good business this summer and are pretty ready to go. Adding the winger is important but it won't hurt to wait until late in the window.
We've never really seen what an Arteta team looks like when he has 15-16 players to choose from and rotate that are suitable for his system. We saw glimpses of it last year when he had 11 players that could play that kind of football and we played some great stuff in that stretch. So I'm optimistic about what this team can do as long as Partey remains an Arsenal player and we stay reasonably healthy.
All that said, the PL is an arms race right now and its very conceivable to me that Arsenal could improve quite a bit, get 73-77 points while also doing decently in cups, and still not make top four.