Edu can move closer to shock Frenkie de Jong transfer as Arsenal near first January deal

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There may still be three days until the transfer window opens on January 1st, but Arsenal’s work has already begun.

Mikel Arteta confirmed that he and Edu had already held meetings to establish the Gunners’ priorities for next month as they seek to bolster their challenge to get into the Premier League top four.

“If you can tweak what you need to in that period, which is not easy, it would be really helpful,” the Spaniard said. “We are working on that to see the necessities we can have and whether we can find the right solutions.”

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Arsenal have been linked to players in the centre-forward, right-back and goalkeeper positions, but another area of the squad they could looks to strengthen is central midfield.

football.london understands that they are nearing a potential exit for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The Hale Ender has attracted interest from Roma who are keen to take him on loan until the end of the season with a view to buy in the summer for a fee in the region of £12million.

His England international teammate Tammy Abraham is understood to have already been in communication as Jose Mourinho seeks to improve the Giallorossi’s own push for Champions League qualification.

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Arteta has previously stated his desire to keep Maitland-Niles in the squad and held last-minute talks to ensure the 24-year-old stayed in north London amid interest from Everton late in the summer window just gone.

“First of all, I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment, the clarity in his play, his purpose,” the Spaniard said when asked about the versatile midfielder’s performances.

“Since we made the decision (to have him stay at Arsenal), it was clear what I was seeing that I wanted him to stay, because he was going to be useful.”



Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be on his way to Roma. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be on his way to Roma. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Despite being set to lose Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey when they head off to the AFCON next month, though, it is thought that Maitland-Niles’ willingness to leave could finally see him secure an exit this time around.

This could mean that a spot opens up in the Arsenal squad for a central midfielder.

It should be said that the Gunners have recently invested in Albert Sambi Lokonga who has impressed, while 18-year-old Charlie Patino is being earmarked for a first-team future having been included in the Premier League squad for the 5-0 win over Norwich on Boxing Day.

However, if Arteta decides he wants a more experienced option to compliment his squad, then Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong could be the perfect man for the job.

The Dutch international is currently a key part of Xavi’s Barcelona side, and is thought of as one of the best deep lying playmakers in world football, but with the Catalan club’s financial struggles, reports have suggested he could be available for transfer at the right price.

His reported £80million price tag might well put him out of the Gunners’ budget although KSE have shown that they’re willing to invest in the playing squad at the Emirates Stadium after spending more than any team in Europe over the summer just gone, with Josh Kroenke seemingly indicating that that was not going to be the last of it.

“From a collective ambition from my father, to myself, to Edu, to Mikel and on down to the rest of the football operations staff we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do with the club,” he said when asked to elaborate on the club’s summer strategy.

“There were a lot of areas that needed to be addressed. Were we going to be able to address them all in one window? I don’t think we did or were able to do.”

At the age of just 24, it would seem that De Jong would also fit into the Gunners’ clear strategy of investing in young players to build a team.

However, it should be noted that any deal for the Dutchman is unlikely to happen this January.

Arteta has already stated that he does not want to sign players on short-term deals in order to cover for the lack of options in January which is part of the reason why Jack Wilshere is not being considered for a permanent deal.

“I don’t think we are going to be able to sign players just for this short period of time,” the Spaniard said.

“I think it’s a little bit unrealistic. But we will sit down now and make the right decision if we can.”

Instead it would seem that the summer will be the time any deal for De Jong is completed as it is likely that the departures of Maitland-Niles and Elneny – whose contract expires at the end of the season – will have left Edu in a position where he is poised to seal the move.

Arsenal may also have Champions League football to offer the Dutchman at that point, which could prove a crucial factor in making his decision over his future.

Source by Football London

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