The transfer window is not even open yet but Arsenal have already been busy. The Gunners are being linked with multiple players and have already completed their first deal of the window by securing a move for Matt Turner believed to be worth around £7million, with the American goal keeper set to replace Bernd Leno as back up to Aaron Ramsdale.
Meanwhile they have a tied Mohamed Elneny down to a one year contract extension, with the option for another year believed to be available, and are hopeful of securing a new deal for Eddie Nketiah too. However, there is no sign that they will stop there.
Mikel Arteta has admitted that he is keen to be active in the transfer market this summer in order to close the gap to the very best sides in the Premier League. “We want to take the club to the next level,” he said in his press conference ahead of the final game of the season against Everton. “That’s the ambition. In order to do that we have a very clear plan again, how we want to do it and execute it, and there are no secrets. We need resources and we need to increase the quality and the depth of the squad.”
The first area they could look to strengthen in is at full back. In terms of numbers Arsenal are well stocked in this area of the pitch. Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu are the obvious first choices, while Nuno Tavares and Cedric are there as back ups. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin meanwhile are set to return to North London when their loans expire, and several promising youngsters like Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Lino Sousa are coming through the academy.
However, towards the end of last season Arteta still found himself restricted in terms of his options in the position. Left-back in particular was a problem position after Tierney was ruled out for the season in March. Tavares was initially thrown in as his replacement against Crystal Palace, but was withdrawn at half time, with Granit Xhaka starting there instead in the next game against Brighton. While Tavares was eventually brought back into the side, you still got the feeling that Arteta didn’t fully trust the Portuguese youngster as he opted to play Tomiyasu at left back in the crucial North London derby earlier this month instead.
With this in mind it’s no surprise to see the Gunners linked with another left back in Bologna’s Aaron Hickey. football.london understands that Edu is hopeful of securing an £18million deal for the 19-year-old, who is also capable of playing on the right side of defence.
Arsenal are also hopeful of strengthening in midfield. Since switching to a 4-3-3 system around December, the Gunners have played some of their best football, but there is still a sense that they can do more to control matches.
As mentioned Elneny has already been tied down as a back up to the injury prone Thomas Partey, but there is still some room for a more creative presence to be added in the middle of the park. Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans would seem to fit this bill perfectly.
The Belgian international has been linked with a £25million move to the Emirates Stadium and it has been reported that he was watched by Arsenal’s head of UK scouting James Ellis during the Leicester’s 4-1 win over Southampton. Tielemans is capable of adding some much needed goal threat to the Gunners midfield having scored seven goals and registered five assists this season, and would appear to be the perfect addition.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Arsenal are looking to strengthen at centre-forward. Since the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners have struggled for a regular goal threat up top. Alexandre Lacazette managed just two Premier League goals from open play this season and football.london understands that he is expected to leave the club when his contract runs out this summer.
Eddie Nketiah did a good job up front when called upon in the back-end of the season when called upon, and reports suggest that Arsenal are hopeful of securing a deal for him to extend his stay at the club worth £100,000 per week. Still, though, the club are hopeful of bringing in another striker this summer.
The main player to have been linked is Gabriel Jesus. football.london understands that Edu has been in talks with the Brazilian international’s agent since November, and is hopeful of securing a deal despite interest from Tottenham and several other clubs. Manchester City are said to have quoted a price of £55million for the 25-year-old, but Arsenal remain hopeful of negotiating that price down.
Arsenal’s strongest line up if Edu completes £105m swoop: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Hickey; Partey, Tielemans, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.