Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu face a tough task this summer with a huge squad overhaul potentially on the cards.
The Gunners endured a torrid 2020/21 season, finishing 8th in the Premier League in Arteta’s first full season at the helm.
Arsenal will likely find themselves cash-strapped as they failed to qualify for any European football for the first time in 25 years as well as struggling with the financial implications of the pandemic.
The Gunners scored just 55 league goals last term, less than newly-promoted Leeds United and football.london understands they are in the hunt for an attacking midfielder in order to address their creative issues, with Norwich’s Emi Buendia one of the main targets to bring to the Emirates this season.
However, despite a formal offer of around £30million for the midfield star from Arsenal, football.london understands it is Aston Villa who currently lead the race for his signature.
Here football.london details three cheaper alternatives to Buendia that would still help solve Arsenal’s creative woes.
West Brom endured a miserable season back in the English top-flight, winning just five league games as they were relegated back to the Championship after clinching promotion last year.
However, one shining light for the Baggies was silky playmaker Matheus Pereira, who bagged 11 goals and six assists in 33 league matches.
The Brazilian is valued at just £11.7million on German football site Transfermarkt, a price that would be a steal for the Gunners considering he is just 25-years-old and also is Premier League proven – although West Brom would likely hold out for more.
The diminutive midfielder mostly operates from the right flank but has also frequently featured as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1, a system Arteta has favoured since the Gunners’ win against Chelsea on Boxing Day.
With West Brom potentially having to accept a cut-price given their relegation back to the Championship, Pereira would be an astute piece of business for Arsenal this summer considering his age, versatility and creative expertise.
Arsenal have a history of picking up excellent creative players from France with Samir Nasri and Robert Pires both joining from Marseille during Arsene Wenger’s time in the hot seat – and they could repeat that transfer trick here.
If the Gunners are looking to dip back into Ligue 1 to purchase another exciting French talent, Brest’s Romain Faivre could be the perfect option.
Faivre, who has a value of around £12m according to Transfermarkt, established himself as one of France’s breakout stars last season, registering an impressive six goals and five in Ligue 1 last term.
The 22-year-old, who can be deployed on either flank, as well as a number 10, managed 150 shot-creating actions throughout the 2020/21 campaign, 52 more than any Arsenal player achieved in the same time frame.
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Reading starlet Michael Olise showcased why he has attracted attention from several Premier League clubs as he helped guide his side to an unexpected 7th-placed finish in last season’s Championship.
The Hammersmith-born playmaker could be one to look at for the Gunners this summer, possessing all the necessary tools to become an elite-level attacking midfielder throughout the course of his career.
Olise, who bagged an impressive seven goals and 12 assists in the league last term, has just 12 months left on his contract at Reading, meaning Arsenal could pick him up for a cut-price this transfer window.
The idea of Olise joining Bukayo Saka and Emith Smith-Rowe at the Emirates is a mouth-watering prospect for Arsenal fans given all three wonderkids are under the age of 21.