Mikel Arteta wants to ensure that Arsenal’s momentum continues throughout the rest of the season and into the 2022/23 season and that means more work on the squad.
Right now, the Gunners are rated as the fourth favourites with the top UK football betting apps in the race for a Champions League spot but the club need to be aiming higher than that, and reinforcements are on the way, with one possible big-name signing lined up for January.
Top of the list for Arteta is Fiorentina’s highly-rated striker Dusan Vlahovic, the current top scorer in Serie A, and according to reports, the Gunners are prepared to make a deal involving Pierre Emerick Aubameyang or Lucas Torriera. Such a deal could also lead to Eddie Nketiah moving to Crystal Palace, but there has to be considerable doubt over whether it will be completed in January.
The main stumbling block, as ever, is money. Vlahovic has been valued at £75 million by Fiorentina but some reports suggest that total amount of money Arsenal would need to invest in the deal could be as much as £150 million, which would blow through most of the transfer budget.
Vlahovic is undoubtedly worth it. Not only is the Serbian sensation a prolific marksman (33 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions during the 2021 calendar year) he also has the competitive temperament and will to win that will make him perfectly suited to the frenetic world of Premier League football. At the age of 21, the 6’3” frontman has all the technical and physical gifts you could want in a top level striker, and he is already starting to realise his potential.
The rest of Europe has also taken notice, with a number of clubs said to be interested in his signature, and Arsenal will face stiff competition to bring the young star to the Emirates.
But while Arteta is most likely to splash the budget on a striker the Gunners are also looking at loan options, particularly in midfield.
One such option is Arthur, currently with Juventus. The 25-year-old Brazilian is rated as one of the most exciting midfielders in world football, and although things have not worked out for him at Barcelona and Juventus, both of those clubs have been going through upheavals over the last two to three years and his talent remains untapped but abundant. Whether Arsenal can get a loan deal done with the Italian side remains to be seen, however.
The Gunners are also looking at a list of free transfer options and Denis Zakaria is one of those names. The 24-year-old midfielder is currently with Borussia Monchengladbach, but his deal runs out at the end of the current season. Better still, he has expressed a desire to move to the Premier League.
This isn’t the first time that Zakaria’s name has come up in connection with Arsenal, either. Last summer it was reported that the club were interested in signing the defensive midfielder, who can chip in with a goal or two, but that was in the context of Granit Xhaka leaving the club, a move which didn’t materialise. The deal could be back on again this summer, however, and getting such a promising young midfielder on a free transfer would represent something of a coup for the club.
Then there is the prospect of the return of Aaron Ramsey. The former Gunner’s contract at Juventus runs out next summer, but such is the determination of the Italian club to get his wage off their books, at a time when they are facing considerable financial pressures, there are reports that they are looking into ways to terminate his existing deal. At the age of 31 he doesn’t have the upside of some of the other players that Arsenal have been looking at, but if was available on a free, he could be a tempting short-term option.
Whichever players eventually arrive at the Emirates, it is exciting to see the momentum that now exists at the club and it is vital that they get their transfer business right to keep that improvement going.