In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s FA Cup triumph, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was already looking to strengthen his squad for next year’s challenges.
Among Saturday’s starters there were several players whose role at the club look in doubt, most notably veteran keeper David Seaman.
The 39-year-old Seaman, who again showed his value to Arsenal with a vital late save against Southampton, has been told that he will no longer be the club’s first choice keeper. Wenger admitted that there will be a transitional period in which Seaman will still have a role to play at the club.
‘I know approximately what I want to do but I will make a definite decision over the next week,’ said Wenger, who has been linked with several goalkeepers including Rustu Recber, of Turkey, and Leeds’ Paul Robinson.
‘It will be my decision, as it is for every player,’ said Wenger. ‘I want him to be on board but for how long I don’t know.
‘There will be a transitional period where he will be still fighting for a place in the team and maybe goalkeeper coach. I have to think about it, at the moment it is not clear in my head.
‘The end comes to all of us and of course it is a difficult period but I think he’s still at the top and he doesn’t feel that he has diminished in his quality.
‘The only question is how long he can stay there. He’s still at the top of his game at the moment.’
Wenger’s other priority this summer will be to strengthen his defence. Despite the performance of Oleg Luzhny in the Cup final – standing-in for the suspended Sol Campbel – the Arsenal boss is expected to scour Europe for a reliable central defender.
‘I think it was a remarkable performance by Oleg Luzhny in the centre,’ admitted Wenger. ‘He was outstanding for 90 minutes, did not make a mistake and was surprisingly good in the air. He and Martin Keown had a great partnership.
‘However, we conceded 42 goals (in the league) and I think we could do with 10 less,’ he added.
‘That’s our target, improve the balance defensively without losing the offensive drive.’
Asked about how many new players there would be next season, Wenger replied: ‘Between one and three. Maybe one, maybetwo, maybe three but not more than three players as I think the basis of the quality is still there but we want to improve in some areas.’
Meanwhile, Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp, has confirmed that he would like to stay at the club for another season.
‘I’ve got a meeting this week and I hope there won’t be any problems because the boss told me months ago that he wanted me to carry on for another season,’ admitted Bergkamp.