Arsenal will have to act fast if they want to complete a deal for AC Milan ace Hakan Calhanoglu.
Manager Mikel Arteta will be looking to strengthen his squad this summer and a creative midfielder is likely to be high on the list of priorities.
Arteta allowed Mesut Ozil to leave the Emirates in the January transfer window, with Emile Smith Rowe taking his chance to stake his claim to become the new number 10 in the red half of north London.
Martin Odegaard arrived at the club on loan from Real Madrid, but reports suggest Los Blancos are not prepared to let him join the Gunners on a permanent deal once his temporary transfer ends in the summer.
That will mean Arteta will be on the lookout for another creative midfielder once the summer transfer widow opens.
Before the 32-year-old’s exit was officially confirmed, football.londonasked Arsenal fans on Twitter who they think should be the next No.10 at the Emirates Stadium.
The options included Alexandre Lacazette, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Emile Smith Rowe. While fans had the option to vote for someone not listed.
And the winner by a landslide was Smith Rowe with 51.4% of the vote.
At one stage Jack Grealish was leading the vote, although any deal for the Aston Villa playmaker is likely to cost the Gunners a whopping £100million fee, according to the Telegraph.
Arsenal fans voting for Smith Rowe to become the next No.10, technical director Edu can save the club millions in the transfer market.
But another option who would save the club million would have been AC Milan ace Hakan Calhanoglu.
As seen in the image above, Hakan Calhanoglu’s statistics this season make for interesting viewing.
The data collected by FBref shows the AC Milan attacking midfielder’s goal and shot creation numbers puts him in a conversation with Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Calhanoglu’s has averaged a 6.51 shot creating action (SCA) per 90 minutes in Serie A this season which is higher than Grealish ( 6.10) and third overall in Europe’s big five leagues.
The 27-year-old’s output should certainly make the decision-makers at Arsenal take notice as Arteta’s first-team squad can still do with more creativity – regardless if Martin Odegaard’s loan spell is made permanent or not.
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Perhaps, the most surprising factor regarding Calhanoglu is that he is out of contract at AC Milan this summer and is free to negotiate with clubs outside of Italy.
However, Milan have had constructive contract talks with the 28-year-old Calhanoglu, with transfer guru Fabriziano Romano reporting that Milan met with Calhangolu to discuss his contract extension. Talks are ongoing to reach an agreement to extend his deal.
That would take him off any potential Arsenal transfer list for the summer.