We started off the transfer window strongly. Edu and Mikel Arteta had a clear vision on what was needed.
A striker was top of the list. We also wanted more creativity in the middle and a new 2nd choice keeper. On the list was also cover at full back and an extra wiseman.
In Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Silva and Matt Turner we secured the first 3 of our targets.
Three down, two to go and it was barelyJuly. Now to focus on the full back and wide man.
We were linked with many but none agreed. It was all about moving the money into the right place to ensure we covered bother positions with quality. Two £30million signings Rather than one £50m and one £10m.
A defensive midfielder was never really on the radar.
We had Thomas Partey, have a new deal to Mohamed Elneny, and still had Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga who could cover there.
Partey would be undisputed number one, and Elneny staying would give us the option of loaning Lokonga out of the right deal came up.
Better cover for Partey was being kicked down the road by 12 months.
In 2023 either Lokonga would have shown he could be Partey’s cover and long term replacement, or we would spend big on a new defensive midfielder to take that role.
But then in the last week our transfer window has come off the tracks a little.
Depending on what happens over the next few weeks (and more!) we could end up needing a new defensive midfielder.
So what are our options?
Our best form last season was with Xhaka further up the field.
This season be would have provided cover to Partey and Eneny if both me were out, but would unlikely play as the deepest midfielder.
An easy fix for our impending issues could be to play Xhaka as the deepest of 3 midfielders and go out and sign Youri Tielemans.
But Xhaka is fairly immobile and if you are the sole defensive midfielder, you need to be able to get around the pitch.
Elneny and Torreira
If we decide to not change our transfer plans, we could see the return of Lucas Torreira
Four years ago Torreira looked the signing of the season.
At only 22, it looked like we had solved our defensive midfield problem. But it never happened.
Torreira just never settled in England and he has since spent time on loan in Spain and Italy.
He was expected to join Fiorentina following is load spell. But they decided not to make his temporary move permanent.
If Arsenal decide to stick to their original transfer plan and leave central midfield to next season it will leave Torreira with another chance.
Elneny, Torreira and Xhaka as the midfield options? Been there. Finished 8th.
Buy a new defensive midfielder
Elneny is good cover but should not be relied upon for the season, Torreira should be cashed in on and Xhaka is better utilised elsewhere. That leaves us with one final option – changing our transfer plans.
This option will lead to Arsenal shifting focus on a central midfielder and sacrificing funds elsewhere.
Rumours seem to be shifting from £40m Lisanro Martinez to £7.5m Alex Grimaldo.
We could also sacrifice a wide man and go into the season with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Marquinhos.
Either of these options would free up money to be spent in midfield.
Spurs have already secured one of our options
In Yves Bissouma.
Had we taken the risk that Bissouma’s charges would be dropped, he might have become an Arsenal player and replaced Mo Elneny.
But unlike Spurs we were unwilling to take the risk of signing him whilst still face some horrendous charges.
Zinchenko is another option – and might also allow us to go for that cheap option at left back.
We could go an sign Zinchenko and go even cheaper at left back knowing that the Ukrainian has plenty of Premier League experience.
Could we go for Zinchenko, recruit Tielemans and sign a cheap midfielder? Is that the best way for us to spend our funds this summer?
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