All good teams are built on building blocks.
Reliable, rock-hard slabs that you can build on top of. Partnerships that very rarely let you down, players that you can rely on to do their job.
Every good team has had them, and they allow you to worry about other matters, concentrate on the next area of concern.
After last season, it would appear that we have a scarcity of these building blocks in our squad right now. At one time or another last season, all areas of our team had moments that led to our downfall. That isn’t to say that our entire team were atrocious, but in terms of dependability. We couldn’t take many of them to the bank.
Aside from our strike force.
The bromance between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette flourished on the pitch amidst our turbulence, and their combined tally of 35 goals was the third best in the Premiership last season – only behind Liverpool’s Mane and Salah’s haul of 44 goals and City’s Aguero and Sterling’s 38.
That means that despite our finishing position of 5th, we had the third most dangerous attack. Just imagine where we would have been without them?
It also means that in the face of the constant adulation, tottenham’s pair of Kane and Son banged in six goals less than our pair.
So in the face of transfer speculation about our pair of hotshots, this stat highlights how desperately we need to keep hold of our duo.
We are aiming to build on last season, which saw us fall agonisingly short of a top four spot – a top four spot that was in our grasp until we fumbled the keys in our hands and dropped them through the sewer grate instead of opening the door to the Champions League.
Our midfield is missing key parts, with only Torreira and Guendouzi being players we can see as mainstays for the coming campaigns.
Our defence is falling apart, with only Sokratis and Rob Holding as long-lasting, reliable parts, with perhaps Calum Chambers rising to the fore. Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal have been fantastic servants to the club but their age is against them, with Shkodran Mustafi showing that he is far from the answer we have been looking for.
We need a new left-back. We need a winger.
So in order to make these additions, the last thing we need to do is sell the players that are the standard we need, with the consistency we crave.
Of course, the fees involved in any transfer for both Lacazette and Aubameyang would be lucrative. Even in the face of some of our most recent transfer mistakes (letting Rambo go for free when Eden Hazard goes for more than £100m with one year left to go on his contract?) we could expect £50m plus for each of them.
It would swell our so-called warchest, it would give us the opportunity to reconstruct our defence, maybe even a decent prospect in midfield to help out Torreira and Guendouzi.
We would be going into next season far weaker than we are now though.
We would also be confirmed as a selling club. It would see us selling players at their peak again, a breeding ground for talent so the big fish can sweep them up.
Aubameyang and Lacazette must stay if we are to go one step further next season. After falling so agonisingly short of making last season a success – a top four spot and a Europa League win was a mere two wins away and would have been a categorical success – our prolific strikeforce is mandatory in order to go that half-step further.
Invest our money in our defence, defenders that can act on Emery’s instructions. A midfielder that can diligently track runners and convert defence to attack efficiently. A wideman with white paint on his boots that can whizz in a decent cross – just imagine our pair of strikers feeding from a player that has a decent delivery!
Our immediate future given our target of self-sufficiency hinges on Aubameyang and Lacazette sporting our fancy new kits next season, hopefully helped by some players that aim for their level of efficiency and optimisation.