Lucas Paqueta is Edu Gaspar’s real priority for the Arsenal midfield, but they’re likely to wait for a later window to make a move for the Lyon man.
Sacha Tavolieri reports that Lucas Paqueta is the real priority of Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar for their midfield. But with no urgent need in the position, Tavolieri believes the Gunners will wait for the winger to push for the signing.
If true, the claims push Youri Tielemans’ signing even further down the list. Not only are Arsenal unlikely to make a signing in his position, but he’s not even their priority option if they do.
Arsenal’s midfield does look stronger than it did last season, particularly in the two advanced midfield roles.
Granit Xhaka is currently starting on the left of central midfield, with Martin Odegaard on the right, but they have Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as alternatives.
On top of that, Oleksandr Zinchenko’s capacity to shift up into midfield and support attacks has taken some of the pressure off.
So if Arsenal are going to make a signing, it wouldn’t just be a player to pad out the numbers, it would have to be an upgrade.
Speaking in July, Lyon head of recruitment Bruno Cheyrou responded to a question about whether Paqueta could leave the club.
“We are ready for any eventuality, but we have to reduce the workforce,” Cheyrou said. “Departures on a case-by-case basis, we will analyse, but economic data are taken into account.”
The quotes followed comments from Edu himself, who told TNT Sports Brasil that he’s a fan of Paqueta, but the club aren’t in talks for his signing.
“I’m very cautious to speak about Lucas,” Edu said. “I am a guy who likes him very much. He was considered the best player in the French league last season but there’s nothing. No talks.
“Today in his position we are very well served, and that’s it.”
That all seems to fit with Tavolieri’s latest update, so perhaps we’ll see an Arsenal bid for Paqueta further down the line.