Mikel Arteta has been attempting to find his best Arsenal eleven for some time and despite currently on a ten-game unbeaten run, the team selection has gone through many iterations.
Players have been chopped and changed due to injury and form. Martin Odegaard looked to have nailed down the number ten position, but Alexandre Lacazette has now made the unorthodox role his own in the Arsenal team.
Nicolas Pepe has been replaced by Bukayo Saka on the right with Emile Smith-Rowe playing on the left. Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga have taken their chances well and have been integral to the last three successive league victories.
However, with the future of Lacazette still uncertain, the idea of maintaining the current loose 4-4-1-1 shape will soon fall away. Furthermore, Mikel Arteta has spoken in the past about moving to a 4-3-3 system.
“We want to move to a 4-3-3 but for that,” said Arteta in December of last year. “You need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it.”
Since then, Arsenal have added considerably to the squad and the system has been used during several games this season already. Both Odegaard and Smith-Rowe operated as attacking eights ahead of a disciplined six. In both cases, Thomas Partey filled that role.
If this is what Arteta wants to persist with in the long term, the number eight characteristics are lacking from the squad. Only the aforementioned pair can play this most naturally with Saka being a possible unorthodox selection.
From the youth team, Charlie Patino and Salah-Eddine could both play the position but are yet to make their senior debuts.
Therefore, an option to sign a player with the versatility to play the role amongst others could be favoured by Edu and recent reports suggest this could be the case.
Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio was reported to have been made available for transfer if Los Blancos’ £34 million asking price is met.
The Spaniard has been unable to recapture his electric form after suffering a serious knee injury against Arsenal in a preseason friendly in 2019.
Known for some spectacular strikes during his time in Spain, Asensio rose to prominence after a successful loan spell with Espanyol saw him bag an impressive 15 assists in a single season. He has converted to a wide playmaker but still possesses the quality to play centrally.
The persistent links which stretch back several windows indicate a liking by Arteta and Edu. Should the Spanish coach’s aim be to play more dominantly in the 4-3-3, reviving the career of Asensio in England could be a smart move but at significant risk.
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Source by Football London