Arsenal tried to hijack Liverpool’s deal to sign Monaco’s Fabinho and although they failed with their efforts late on, the move tells us very clearly that Arsenal are trying to sign an actual defensive midfielder.
The position at Arsenal is one that has needed filled properly for a long time.
Although Francis Coquelin looked like he might excel there, the injury to Santi Cazorla revealed the Frenchman’s limitations. He was, it seemed, only good at the position when he had the tiny Spaniard’s expertise alongside him.
Over the years, Arsene Wenger resisted calls to sign a defensive midfielder.
Although the team were desperately in need of a dedicated specialist for that position, he continued to try and shoe-horn other types of midfielders into the slot in the hopes of having a more fluid midfield.
Liverpool completed a £45m deal for the 24-year-old Monaco man and, given his talent, and age, that represents an excellent bit of business for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
With Arsenal seemingly set to sign Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Caglar Soyuncu, a £45m move for a midfielder would wipe out Arsenal’s remaining transfer budget meaning a number of players will be clearly have to be sold if the club also want to add a winger and a goalkeeper.
All reports seem to point to them trying to do exactly that, meaning the Gunners will line up with a much-changed starting XI next season.