Arsenal avoided defeat against Brighton in their first test since Granit Xhaka’s injury in the North London derby. Despite not conceding, the Gunners failed to challenge their opposition and Graham Potter’s side trapped the visitors in their own half for much of the game.
Sambi Lokonga came in for the injured Xhaka and Arsenal’s left-hand side dipped in threat. The right-footed Belgian played more conservatively than his Swiss superior and found passing into the opposition half and attacking third difficult.
The Arsenal Way revealed the difference in forward passing effectiveness between Xhaka and Lokonga in the latest episode of Analysing Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta may be advised therefore to try and find alternative solutions in the short term until Xhaka returns close to January. However, with serious knee injuries, there is always a risk that the player will fail to return at the same level.
Both Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding struggled with their reintroduction and whilst the latter remains at the club, although behind Ben White, the Spaniard has since left. Bellerin joined Real Betis on loan for the season.
football.london understands that a central midfielder remains high on the list of positions the club wishes to strengthen in the future.
The pursuit of Manuel Locatelli in the summer ultimately proved fruitless but could have proven to be a blessing.
Identifying the need for a central midfielder whose ability to progress the ball and support the left flank has been revealed prior to significant investment. Now the club can react by getting a player who solves the problems.
Linked with Arsenal in the past, the club could find it appropriate to return to Spanish international Fabian Ruiz. The Napoli midfielder was linked with a move to the Gunners back in 2018 after his breakout with Real Betis.
However, the then 22-year-old decided that a move to Serie A would be more beneficial for him at that stage of his career and the Naples-based side paid a fee in the region of £30 million to bring him in.
Since then, Ruiz has developed excellently and become part of Luis Enrique’s Spain squad.
With less than 2 years remaining on his deal, just the one at the end of the current season, Ruiz could become a realistic option for Arsenal in the upcoming two windows.
Valued at £40.5 million by Transfermarkt, the contract situation could provide an incentive for Arsenal to push towards an attractive deal. Napoli are known for being shrewd negotiators under the ownership of Aurelio De Laurentiis but do sell when their valuation is met.
The Arsenal technical director’s strategy to blend youth with world-class players would see Ruiz fit the bill and the 25-year-old’s talents could be the perfect fit for this Gunners side.
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Source by Football London