5 wingers that could freshen up Arsenal

Rafael Leao

Touted as a future Balon D’Or contender, Rafael Leao is already a superstar.

The Portuguese winger was named Italian Footballer of the Year last season as AC Milan won their first league title in over a decade.

He has continued what he started last year, putting in the consistent performances that show he is not a one season wonder.

A player like Leao would usually command huge money, but next summer he will have just 12 months left on his contract.

AC Milan might be tempted to cash in during the January transfer window before his value plummets.

Whether Arsenal will want to spend £50-60m is up for discussion.

It really depends on whether we want someone who could walk straight into our first team ahead of Gabriel Martinelli; or whether we are backing our young Brazilian and looking to get someone cheaper (and younger) who will provide competition and cover on both flanks.

The feeling is it will be the later.

Arsenal will likely look to bring in someone a little less established, and cheaper, rather than a superstar.

However, if Bukayo Saka’s contract talks continue, we might see Leao as a big name replacement.

Cody Gakpo

PSV’s Cody Gakpo has been on many an amateur scouts watch list for a few years. He has also been extensively watched by every top club across Europe.

The feeling was always that he had the physical and technical ability to be a superstar. But his output never really lived up to the promise.

This season he has hit 9 goals in 10 Eredivisie games, further adding 7 assists.

Now 23-years-old, you had to wonder why no top club had yet taken the plunge.

Last year he was heavily linked with Leeds United to replace Raphinha, but eventually he stayed at PSV.

There are some rumours that he simply does not want to leave Eindhoven. That he is happy being a big fish in a small pond.

He is already hero to the PSV fans. He captains the team and their side is built around how he wants to play. He seems to revel I being front and centre.

Would he still have the same impact when he is asked to play more of the team rather than himself? And is he more an Andros Townsend than Arjen Robben?

He will only be able to answer those questions when he plays at a higher level.

And we know the step up from the Dutch league to top end Premier League is a big one. Someone will eventually take the risk. But will it be Arsenal?

Mykhaylo Mudryk

A year ago Mykhaylo Mudryk was a little known Ukranian player.

He was linked with Arsenal towards the end of last summer which led to many researching him, and keeping an eye on his progress.

Mudryk is a quick, skilful winger, who predominately plays on the left, allowing him to cut in on his stronger right foot. His left leg is by no means just for standing on, and he is equally as confident beating his man on the outside and crossing from his left peg.

Just 21-years-old, he potentially has a very high ceiling. 3 goals and 5 assists in 6 Premier Liga games followed up 2 and 7 in 11 last season.

It is frustrating that his 2021/22 campaign was cut short due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as he was beginning to sparkle.

Mudryk has also impressed in the Champions League this season where he has been Shaktar’s best player – scoring against both RB Leipzig and Celtic. He also didn’t look out of place against Real Madrid.

The rumoured price tag of £50m+ is steep for one with so little experience, and you feel that price will have to halve for us to become interested.A

Although if you look at our “whole” frontline, £130m for Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Mudryk, Nketiah and Smith Rowe would look like a bargain

His ceiling could be huge and he would be a fantastic edition to our young squad of the price is right.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Whereas Mudryk and Gakpo are still yet to take that set up, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia made the move to Napoli this season and has been devastating in Serie A.

Since making a £10m move from Dinamo Batumi in the summer, “the Georgian Messi” has justified his hype with 5 goals and 3 assists in 10 Serie A games. He has also added 2 and 3 in the Champions League.

Having only moved to Italy a few months ago, January might be too early for a move. And with Napoli unbeaten and top of the league, he will unlikely look to be in a rush.

Next summer he might be swayed by Premier League money, and if he does come available there will be a lot of interest.

If Arsenal are to “go big” on a winger, the top league experience of Kvaratskhelia might be the clincher.

Wilfried Zaha

The odd one out for more than one reason.

Firstly, the only man on this list that is Premier League proven. Secondly he turns 30 in November – the next oldest on this list is just 23.

In 2018, Arsenal were heavily linked with the Crystal Palace winger; with Zaha reportedly extremely keen on the deal.

A £40m deal did not go through, Zaha signed a new 5-year deal and 12 months later we signed his compatriot, Nicolas Pepe.

That 5-year contract is ends this summer, leaving Crystal Palace with a decision for January.

They will probably be in “no man’s land” in the middle of the Premier League – unlikely to go down or challenge for Europe.

That will mean they could potentially cash in on Zaha without us damaging their season.

With Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze, they have some exciting talent ready to step up.

Zaha would make an immediate impact at the Emirates, and would freshen up our attack for the 2nd half of the season.

At his age, he would be a short term option, proving experience competition on the left and right whilst not getting in the way of Saka and Martinelli’s continual development.

Zaha would compliment rather than replace that younger ones.

A deal could come down to what Zaha wants.

Is he only after guaranteed regular first team football? Or is he up for challenging himself at the highest level once more following his failed spell at Man U?

And with him entering his 30th year, would he be looking for that “one last big contract” that will finance his retirement?

Having made the mistake with Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal will be reluctant to offer him big money and a learn term contract.

A 3-and-a-half year deal on similar money to what he is on now (£130k a week) would be an agreeable deal from Arsenal’s point of view.

But if it is all about the money, Zaha would be better off letting his contract run down and pocketing a huge signing on fee next summer.

One to keep an eye on.

Keenos

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