Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes his side are ready to build on last season’s English FA Cup glory by challenging last term’s English Premier League champions Chelsea the the league title next campaign.
The Wales international claimed the Gunners’ current squad is strong enough to mount a serious challenge even if manager Arsene Wenger does not invest in summer reinforcements.
Ramsey is not expecting that to happen, saying that “every club brings in new faces and a few leave”, and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech along with Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin are among those who have been linked with a summer move to the Emirates Stadium.
“Even with this group of players now I believe if everyone was fit in the season we would have a great opportunity of competing for the Premier League,” the 24-year-old said.
“This team has come on a lot over the last few years and if we can get off to a good start next season we will challenge.
“The club is in a good place where they can afford not to let players go, we’re building on this team rather than seeing players leaving.
“It is a nice feeling and means that the group can stick together. The understanding is there already, so it can only get stronger.”
Arsenal have the benefit of avoiding a UEFA Champions League qualification match in August and Ramsey believes going straight into the group stages of the competition will help Wenger’s men hit the ground running.
“At the beginning of the season you’re still getting your fitness levels up and those first few games are quite tough,” he added, mindful that Arsenal have had to make trips to Turkey at the start of the last two seasons.
“If you sandwich a few Champions League fixtures in between them, that’s maybe too much for certain players at that time of the season.
“So it’s important to go through to the group stages without having that knock-out game to qualify.
“The good thing for us is not to have those games and hopefully that gets off to a very strong start.”