With two wins from his last two games and a marked improvement from his players, it’s so far, so good on the pitch for new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard has been keen to stress the quality of his players since taking over the reins last month, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from going into overdrive. The Gunners’ creaky defence has only been worsened with a long-term injury to Calum Chambers and if Arsenal are to compete for the Europa League - and try and surge into European places in the league - then fresh faces might be needed.
But who would Arsenal look to target this month?
Jerome Boateng, Bayern Munich
Jerome Boateng feels like exactly the kind of signing Arsenal would make: he’s 31 and if the rumours are to be believed, he would be free, should Arsenal be willing to pay Bayern Munich his considerable wage packet.
On paper at least, Boateng would certainly add much-needed steel to the Arsenal defence. He’s not the player he used to be, but fans could definitely get on board with Arteta working with the World Cup winner, especially given the improvement of David Luiz in previous weeks.
Injuries are a concern with Boateng, but should the German stay fit, he represents a significantly cheaper alternative than other names in the same bracket of experience and quality. A loan deal could see the Gunners through until the summer, at least.
Potential price: Free
Thomas Lemar, Atletico Madrid
According to whispers, Thomas Lemar was subject to an eye-watering £92m bid from Arsenal when he was at Monaco. Oh, how times have changed in just two and a half years.
Since moving to Atletico Madrid, the Frenchman has found himself out of favour with boss Diego Simeone. Talk of a loan move to North London make sense: Lemar is an industrious midfielder capable of working wide or in a three-man midfield, and certainly possesses the off-ball work ethic that Arteta will demand from his side. This isn’t an area of priority for Arsenal, but it could be a deal too good to refuse.
Potential price: Loan
Hakem Ziyech, Ajax
Reports of Arsenal’s interest in Ajax’s Hakem Ziyech have been stirring since last summer, but in the last few weeks the chatter is getting louder. Ajax have apparently told the Moroccan that he can leave this month and at around £40 million, the likes of Arsenal aren’t priced out the bidding.
Ziyech is exactly the kind of free-roaming, mercurial no.10 that would flourish in Arteta’s set-up, replacing Mesut Ozil. Should Arsenal fail to tie down either Aubameyang or Lacazette to new deals, however, Ziyech could trigger a shake-up at the Emirates: Arsenal could feasibly keep one of their strikers up front and use Ziyech out in the left-wing position that Aubameyang has occupied of late. If Arteta isn’t impressed with his current attacking options, the Gunners could swoop.
Potential price: £40 million
Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig
Arsenal already have one young French defender arriving this summer in the shape of William Saliba. What about another one?
The precocious Dayot Upamecano was rumoured to be the more expensive Plan A to David Luiz last summer, and the Gunners are apparently still after his signature. An athletic centre-back already getting regular starts under Julian Nagelsmann, the RB Leipzig defender is 19 and excellent on the ball. There’s no doubt he could complement Saliba - the one issue remains his inexperience.
Upamecano may prove to still be too expensive for Arsenal to tempt from the Bundesliga midseason, but don’t bet against them making a third enquiry come summer.
Potential price: £70 million
Max Aarons, Norwich City
One of the surprising bright sparks of Arteta’s reign thus far has been Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back. With Hector Bellerin suffering with injuries this season, could Arsenal cash in on the Catalan while they still can?
Arsenal are just one of a number of Premier League clubs linked with Norwich starlet Max Aarons. The 19-year-old has held his own in the top division this season, and the chance to link up with Arteta could accelerate his development. Aarons is technically gifted and could provide much-needed depth, should the Arsenal board be willing to invest in a player who’s only going to increase in value.
Potential price: £30 million
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