The transfer window isn’t even open yet, but Arsenal have already been busy. The Gunners have been linked with several 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 America goalkeeper Bernd Leno to replace Aaron Ramsdale.
Meanwhile, they have tied Mohamed Elneny to a one-year contract extension with the option of a further year believed to be available and are hoping to land Eddie Nketiah on a new contract as well. However, there are no signs that they will stop there.
Mikel Arteta has admitted he is keen to be active in the transfer market this summer in order to close the gap on the Premier League’s best sides. “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. To achieve that, again we have a very clear plan on 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 depth of the squad.” .”
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The first area where they could strengthen is at full-back. Arsenal are well-placed numerically in this area of the pitch. Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu are the obvious first choices, while Nuno Tavares and Cedric are there as backups. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, will return to north London once their loans expire and several promising youngsters such as Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Lino Sousa are coming through the academy.
However, towards the end of last season, Arteta was still limited in his options at the position. The left-back in particular was a problem position after Tierney was ruled out for the season in March. Tavares was initially used as his substitute against Crystal Palace but was withdrawn at half-time and Granit Xhaka started there instead in the next game against Brighton. Despite Tavares eventually being brought back into the squad, there was still a feeling Arteta didn’t quite trust the Portuguese youngster when he opted to play Tomiyasu at left-back in the crucial North London derby earlier this month.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise the Gunners are linked with another left-back in Bologna’s Aaron Hickey. football.london understands Edu is hoping to land an £18m deal for the 19-year-old, who is also capable of playing on the right side of defence.
Arsenal are also hoping for reinforcements in midfield. Since switching to a 4-3-3 system in December, the Gunners have played some of their best football games but there’s still a feeling they can do more to control the games.
As mentioned, Elneny has already been tied as a replacement for the injury-prone Thomas Partey, but there is still some room for a more creative presence in the middle of the park. Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans seems to fit that bill perfectly.
The Belgium international has been linked with a £25million move to the Emirates Stadium and it was reported he was being watched by Arsenal’s head of British scouting James Ellis in Leicester’s 4-1 win over Southampton. Able to bring some much-needed scoring threat to the Gunners midfield, Tielemans has scored seven goals and provided five assists this season and looks like the perfect addition.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Arsenal want to strengthen the centre-forward. Since the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners have been struggling for a regular scoring threat at the top. Alexandre Lacazette has only scored two Premier League goals from open play this season and football.london understands he is expected to leave the club when his contract expires this summer.
Eddie Nketiah has done a good job leading up to being called upon at the end of the season and reports suggest Arsenal are hoping to secure a deal for him to extend his £100,000-a-week stay at the club. Still, the club hope to sign another striker this summer.
The main actor that has been linked is Gabriel Jesus. football.london reckons Edu has been in talks with the Brazil international’s agent since November and hopes to strike a deal despite interest from Tottenham and several other clubs. Manchester City are said to have listed a price of £55million for the 25-year-old but Arsenal remain hopeful of negotiating that price down.
Arsenal’s strongest line-up as Edu completes £105m swoop: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Weiss, Gabriel, Hickey; Partey, Tielemans, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.