Since the extended Premier League campaign got back underway, it had been a good return to form for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side. Although they’d lost their opening two matches, to Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion, the Gunners were unbeaten in five matches until last weekend, and European football was still in their sights. However, after being a goal up and losing 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby, it’s another minor setback – despite it looking as though Arteta’s methods and approach were starting to take effect.
Of course, Arsenal are a long way off in being fancied when it comes to Premier League odds, but if they can rectify the errors made at the weekend and bounce back in their remaining matches to ensure they’re playing in the Europa League, they can expect some decent signings in order to push on next season. Here are some of the names we could possibly see arriving in North London.
Defensive frailties have haunted Arsenal for seasons, and it’s an area they continue to look to strengthen, but with little success. French under-21 defender Malang Sarr is reportedly on their radar. Sarr, who played for Ligue 1’s Nice last season is out of contract and would join the Gunners on a free transfer. However, the London club are set to face stiff competition from RB Leipzig who are also after the centre back’s services. With budgets tight, following the global coronavirus pandemic, Arsenal will be keen to target free agents – but there’s no doubt the purse strings will be pulled tighter if they fail to secure a place in Europe.
With central defensive partnerships in particular, a major concern for Arsenal and with Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos seemingly expected to leave the Emirates, Athletic Bilbao centre-back, Unai Núñez is another possible target to boost the Gunners’ back-line. The 23-year-old has seen his place in the pecking order at the Basque club slide in recent seasons – with just 12 league appearances in each of the last two campaigns. After declining to renew his current offer with Athletic Club, a move would open up a £27m release clause and as well as the Gunners, fellow Premier League clubs Everton and West Ham United are after his signature.
If Alexandre Lacazette is indeed sold, a striker to partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who Arteta is confident will stay at The Emirates – is a must, and Wolfsburg forward Wout Weghorst hasn’t ruled out a move to the Premier League. After netting 20 goals in all competitions this campaign, the Dutch international will be back in action with his current club next month when the Europa League returns after its hiatus. Wolfsburg value their 27-year-old at around £27m, with Weghorst’s current contract running until 2023 – but speaking to Sport Bild, the striker added fuel to the fire: “Nobody has to be afraid. It’s good for a club to get a lot of money again after investing in a player”.
Should Lacazette join Atlético Madrid as is rumoured, a swap could be on the cards with Los Rojiblancos midfielder, Thomas Partey – who’s been on the Gunners’ radar for some time. The Ghanaian has been pivotal this season for the Madrid club, helping them secure a Champions League quarter-finals place and there’s no doubt he would bolster the centre of Arsenal’s midfield. The future of Mattéo Guendouzi is still up in the air, and Lucas Torreira hasn’t lived up to his billing, despite injury – so midfield is an area that Arteta will look to strengthen. There’s one man who could make it done deal, and that’s Atléti’s head of international scouting, Francis Cagigao, who was responsible for previous singings including Cesc Fàbregas, Santi Cazorla and Héctor Bellerín.