Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has already started compiling a wish list for the summer transfer window, but refused to confirm whether Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka is among his plans. With the Gunners having been dumped out of the FA Cup and the Champions League, as well as falling 11 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City, attention has turned to next season in an effort to bridge the gap.
Though the North London club could close to within eight points of Leicester and three of second place Spurs with a win over Watford at the Emirates Stadium, ahead of their title rivals' clashes with Southampton and Liverpool, Wenger has wasted little time in beginning preparations for next term, which could be his final campaign at the club. The French boss is under constant pressure to use the club's significant cash reserves to sign players, but often resists calls from the stands.
The Evening Standard understands that Arsenal are in talks to sign Switzerland international Xhaka this summer, but have baulked at the £35m asking price. Wenger has refused to confirmed whether the former Basel man is among his plans, though. However, he has assured supporters that there is a strategy in place for the upcoming window.
"At the moment we start to analyse and make little lists of names but I don't think it's the time for us to come out with names," he told reporters, according to The Independent. when asked about links with Xhaka at a pre-match press conference to preview the visit of Watford. Despite evidence that he is already looking ahead of next season, the Arsenal boss added that he remains hopeful of winning the title with eight straight wins between now and the end of the campaign.
"If we win all the eight games, we have more than a chance to win the league, but our target is to win the games," he said of Arsenal's ambitions for the rest of the campaign, according to the club's official website. "Let's start to be pragmatic, and win the next one which is [on Saturday].
"It depends on the results of Leicester City. We are depending on Leicester City and nobody knows how they will go in the last seven games. They have seven games, we have eight [a game in hand against West Bromwich Albion]. What is important is that we play our eight games with complete commitment and passion, and see where we finish.
"Everyone says Leicester City is a team who have overachieved but now you see all their players go to play with their international teams and they are the best players in their national team. It is no coincidence that when a team does well, they have good players. The stress becomes bigger but Leicester are in a very strong position at the moment. They can still lose it. The only way we can achieve that is with us performing."