The Arsenal midfield is an area of needed attention for technical director Edu in the coming transfer windows. With both Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey set to join up with their respective countries for the African Cup of Nations, the Gunners will be far lighter.
Mikel Arteta has also had to deal with the injury of Granit Xhaka. The Arsenal midfielder has been out since the North London Derby and isn’t expected back until the new year.
With only Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sambi Lokonga as available senior options in the trio’s absence, this has highlighted the cause for recruitment in the position.
Arsenal have seen several players linked with the club in the previous summer window but Xhaka’s contract extension put an end to the plans and instead the club moved for Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the final weeks of the transfer period.
Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria has also been linked with the club and the German side’s interest in Eddie Nketiah has further fueled talk of a possible winter deal.
However, Arsenal’s reported interest in Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig has been dealt a serious blow with the announcement that Xavi Hernandez has taken over at Barcelona.
The links with Arsenal arose due to former boss Ronald Koeman not being the biggest admirer of the 22-year-old central midfielder.
Speaking prior to his sacking at the end of August, Koeman was asked why Puig was not being given a chance when Sergi Roberto got injured in the win over Getafe.
He responded, “We have four or five players injured and when they’re back, others are going to be in a very difficult situation.”
The issues facing Puig led to the aforementioned reports that he was considering a move away but the arrival of Xavi changes everything. The iconic midfielder and Barca legend has spoken previously of his admiration for Puig.
“The truth is that he is a boy who breathes talent and plays simply,” said Xavi in an interview in 2018.
“He has self-confidence, personality, he does not hide and asks for the ball. I am very happy because when I see him play, you can see a total Barcelona school (player), something that we like so much.
“In a way, he brings back to our memory that football we experienced years ago at the Barcelona academy. That DNA that is so particular to our game and is so complex to find in specific players. And Riqui has it.”
The boy described previously as a possible ‘Santi Cazorla’ replacement looks very much set to remain in Catalonia now and the Gunners will need to search elsewhere for depth in the middle.
In all honesty, the midfielder is not likely to be at the level the Gunners would be looking to invest in. The lack of minutes since their initial reported interest is the likely cause for this.
Edu must ensure that all signings have a significant pay-off on their transfer fees as displayed by the six summer signings.
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Source by Football London