Arsenal finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League table last season and that was their worst result in the top-flight in 25 years. Still, they qualified for the Europa League group stage by winning the FA Cup where they beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final respectively.
Hence, the club are moving in a positive direction under manager Mikel Arteta, who only took charge in December 2019. The Gunners have experienced a quiet summer transfer window to date with Willian being the only addition to their squad on a free transfer.
However, there have been a number of players, who have been linked with potential moves to the Emirates Stadium. One of the Gunners’ main targets for the summer has been Lille’s Gabriel Magalhaes and it appears that they have finally won the race to sign him, according to The Telegraph.
The Brazilian centre-back has been the subject of interest from both the Gunners and Napoli this month and it was recently reported that the latter had a gentleman’s agreement to sign him once they part ways with Kalidou Koulibaly.
So far, they have been unable to find any serious buyers for their experienced defender and that seems to have paved the way for the Gunners to land Gabriel’s services. A £22.5m transfer appears on the cusp of completion for the centre-back, who has already agreed a five-year deal with the club.
Arteta has placed the emphasis on playing a left-footed centre-back in the starting lineup and that was the prime reason behind the recruitment of Pablo Mari in January, initially on loan. Unfortunately, the Spaniard picked up a serious knee injury after just three appearances, but he should return to action by October.
Mari and Gabriel could potentially compete for a starting position next term based on their displays. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey is another option for the Gunners, who are aiming to solidify their midfield for next season.
The Ghana international has a release clause worth £45m on his contract and so far, the club have been reluctant to meet the price tag. They had recently proposed a £22.5m offer with Matteo Guendouzi acting as a makeweight, but the package was rejected by Atleti, who are reluctant to sell him for anything less than his buy-out clause (The Guardian).
It remains to be seen whether they will meet the demands of the Spanish outfit. Elsewhere, AS Roma’s Amadou Diawara has emerged as another midfield target. As per Il Romanista, the Guinea international could arrive at the Emirates in a straight-exchange deal involving Lucas Torreira, who is eager to return to the Serie A.
Arteta went with a 3-4-3 formation with regularity during the final weeks of the previous season, but there have been suggestions that he could revert to the traditional 4-2-3-1 setup. Willian is an option for Arteta in the number 10 role alongside Mesut Ozil, but the German seems completely out-of-favour.
Hence, a new signing could be on the cards. Of late, Lyon’s Houssem Aouar has been mentioned as a potential target. As per L’Equipe h/t Metro, the Gunners recently proposed a part-exchange deal involving Matteo Guendouzi, but they have received no response from the Ligue 1 side.
Les Gones had previously valued their versatile midfielder at around £36m, but the price has been increased to £54m on the back of his impressive performances in the Champions League this month. A deal appears unlikely at the moment.
For the second year running, it has been reported that the Gunners are working on a limited budget for the summer and their transfer business may depend on whether they are able to part ways with some of their out-of-favour players.
Arteta will be hoping that the club can pursue most of their targets in the next two weeks, considering the new Premier League season starts from September 12. The Gunners have been handed a testing schedule to begin with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to face on the road in the opening seven games.