Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is looking to sign reinforcements this summer after his side were beaten by bitter rivals Tottenham for Champions League qualification
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Arsenal have enjoyed a season of progress under Mikel Arteta, despite some criticism.
The Gunners have returned to Europe – albeit not to the Champions League as they would have liked – and have built a young team that has united their bitterly divided fan base. Still, they could easily slip back into a depressed state if their recruitment is poor this summer.
The key for Arsenal is not to let any of their star players like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Magalhaes go while also attracting some top players in the transfer market. A dream target is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has been linked with a move to the Emirates. Arteta worked with the Manchester City ace during his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant and will be fully aware of his qualities.
Zinchenko is talented, passionate and has developed a lot under Guardiola. He is also a serial winner, lifting nine major trophies – including four Premier League titles – at the Etihad.
Zinchenko is also able to play in multiple positions. He’s an attacking midfielder, of course, but usually plays under Guardiola at left-back as City don’t have numbers in that role. Few players at the top of European football can be versatile with such confidence.
Arteta is believed to want to use the Ukrainian in midfield to give him more options going forward. The Gunners already have one of the best left-backs in the Premier League in Kieran Tierney but his injury record continues to worry the Spanish manager.
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Zinchenko’s importance to City’s success was evident on the final day of the season. With Guardiola’s side two goals behind Aston Villa, substitute Rodri set up the equaliser. They won 3-2 to claim their fourth Premier League title in five years.
The 25-year-old’s performance is remarkable given the emotional stress he’s been under since February when Russia invaded his native Ukraine. A war has raged since then and he was clearly emotional as City secured the most recent title.
“As he [Zinchenko] Coming on as a substitute today he made a huge difference – his sense of position and his progression,” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after the win over Villa. “He was a brilliant signing for the club. Fair to play him. It’s so heroic what he did.”
Zinchenko has the experience, youth and quality Arteta needs to turn his blossoming side into a serious threat. There’s no question he would be a great signing for the Gunners – but whether they can lure him from Manchester to London remains a major sticking point.
The utility player is under Guardiola Trophy Guarantee and is loved by City fans. Still, Arteta can offer him regular football and a chance to play in a more advanced role. Zinchenko has never played more than 20 games in a Premier League campaign.
Arsenal supporters are desperate to return to the top of English football but their club must start attracting players and resist being a selling club to achieve that. Arteta has to make a statement – like Zinchenko – this summer.