Arsenal are set to be one of the busiest clubs in this transfer window, with a number of changes to their first-team squad looking likely.
Theo Walcott has already departed the Emirates to join Everton, and Alexis Sanchez Manchester United-bound in the coming hours/days.
To replace them, the Gunners seem set to bring Henrikh Mkhitaryan in from Old Trafford as part of the Sanchez deal, while talks are ongoing to recruit Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for what will almost certainly be a club-record fee.
Should those deals come to pass, Arsenal will have a formidable attack-line of Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette. How Arsene Wenger will fit all four into his starting lineup will be interesting, and it should signal the end of the narrow 3-4-3 he has been utilising for most of this season.
To use all four at the same time, Wenger will have to return to 4-2-3-1.
The 3-4-3 formation that Wenger had been using had allowed Ozil and Sanchez to operate as narrow attacking midfielders behind a focal point in Lacazette. If Arsenal fail to sign Aubameyang and are left with Mkhitaryan as their sole attacking signing, then he could slot straight in for the Chilean and the system could carry on as normal. However, adding two new attacking elements into that mix means that alteration is necessary.
Mkhitaryan was simply devastating on the right for Dortmund in the 15/16 season, with the majority of his 23 goals and 20 assists coming from out in that region. Therefore, the logical choice would be to put him out on that flank and leave Ozil as the sole number ten once again.
The next part is where Wenger has a couple of options. Aubameyang and Lacazette both like to play as the central striker, but the Gunners manager is unlikely to operate with two central front men. They are both, however, also adept at playing on the left side of a front three.
Aubabeyang’s propensity for cutting inside with the ball probably marks him out as a standout candidate for that role, but likewise Wenger may favour Lacazette’s dribbling ability and decide that the Frenchman’s worrying lack of goals recently mean that he would do better out on the left and away from the huge goalscoring pressure that he now faces in every match.
It’s hard to know what way Wenger will go with that one, though Lacazette could very well get the nod to continue as the number nine, at least while Aubameyang gets his bearings in a new league.