Arsenal report: Gunners to swoop for Spanish wonderkid labelled 'The new Coutinho'

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Arsenal FC at Brentford Community Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Brentford, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Arsenal could be set to land a Spanish wonderkid in January to bolster their squad – and he might come at a bargain price.

The Gunners were interested in adding a winger towards the end of the transfer window. Pedro Neto and Mykhaylo Mudryk were both touted as potential options but with an injury crisis in the centre of midfield, manager Mikel Arteta and director Edu Gaspar turned attentions to Aston Villa No.6 Douglas Luiz on Deadline Day.

Luiz remained at Villa Park in the end, while reports indicated that both Neto and Mudryk would have been beyond the north Londoners' budget for what would have essentially been a squad player. 

Mykhaylo Mudryk of Shakhtar Donetsk is challenged by Mohamed Simakan of RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League group F match between RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk at Red Bull Arena on September 06, 2022 in Leipzig, Germany.

Mykhaylo Mudryk emerged as a potential winger that Arsenal could sign – but employers Shakhtar Donetsk have since hiked his asking price up (Image credit: Cathrin Mueller/Getty Images)

Now, Arsenal are turning to more cost-effective options and one that has interested the Emirates outfit is Villarreal starlet Alejandro "Alex" Baena.

Spanish outlet Sport (opens in new tab) have claimed that Arteta is a fan of the Andalucian wide-man, after an impressive start to the season under former Gunners boss, Unai Emery. Baena has been compared favourably to Philippe Coutinho in his style of play and already tops the scoring board for the Yellow Submarine. 

Baena's release clause sits at around £30 million, making him considerably cheaper than either Neto or Mudryk – not to mention his £42m-rated team-mate Yeremi Pino, who Arsenal have also registered an interest in, according to (opens in new tab)

Baena primarily plays on the left-wing for Villarreal, is right-footed and has a sharp turn of pace. Last season on loan at Girona, he found himself drifting into the penalty area to finish off chances but is also more than capable of creating opportunities himself.

Alex Baena of Villarreal during the La Liga Santander match between Real Betis Sevilla v Villarreal at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on September 11, 2022 in Sevilla Spain

Alex Baena of Villarreal in action against Real Betis (Image credit: Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Villarreal are thought to want to extend the contract of the 21-year-old, with the Gunners not the only club interested in a deal. Liverpool are said to be interested too, while Fichajes have confirmed Manchester City's interest but claim that the champions aren't likely to make a bid. 

Baena is valued at around £9m by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab).

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal were looking for a “mystery winger” to complete their squad, while a midfielder was also been touted. 

After Nicolas Pepe left the Gunners for more minutes on loan at Nice, manager Mikel Arteta declared a desire to “add firepower”, though he could not guarantee a new player will come in. The Gunners still have interest in Pedro Neto, as well as a Ukrainian wonderkid

Mohamed Elneny’s injury means that midfield is a little weak right now. FFT reported months ago that personal terms with Youri Tielemans were agreed, with the north Londoners just needing to agree a fee with Leicester: one obstacle remained on Deadline Day. In other news, Bukayo Saka has hinted that he’s close to extending his contract

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