The summer transfer window is yet to receive an official start date from the Premier League, but that won’t stop a number of club’s from preparing their wish-lists ahead of what is set to be a busy window for a lot of teams.
One side that undoubtedly need to strengthen are Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who currently languish in eleventh, knocked out of both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup whilst their chances of Europa League progression hinge on a nervous second-leg away at Slavia Prague.
It has been a first full season in charge to forget for the league’s youngest manager. Arsenal are staring down the barrel of no European competition next season, something that would ultimately be catastrophic to the club’s finances, especially thrown in with the millions lost in gate revenue.
This means the Gunners may have little choice but to bargain hunt, actively seeking out cheap or even free alternatives as they aim to keep Arteta’s rebuild afloat.
The end of the 2020/21 campaign will see a number of big names available on free transfers, including the likes of Barcelona sensation Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid.
Though Arsenal may struggle to captivate the attention of that highly-decorated duo, football.london has taken a close look at five players who could be attracted by the bright lights of the Emirates without costing Arsenal a penny in transfer fees.
Barely a window passes without the PSG midfielder being repeatedly linked with a move to the Gunners, though things could prove different this time around.
While Arsenal have previously been out off by Paris Saint-Germain’s asking price, a move for the German international in the summer would cost Arsenal precisely £0, with Draxler in the final few months of his contract and little sign of a renewal.
Martin Odegaard’s arrival in January on a short-term loan deal has highlighted how effective Arsenal can be with a creative outlet, but if the Norwegian international intends on returning to parent club Real Madrid in the summer – Draxler could be just as impactful as well as sticking around for longer.
Arsenal clearly already have a strong business relationship with Vazquez’ side Real Madrid, both Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have swapped the Santiago Bernabéu for the Emirates on loan deals of varying lengths.
Vazquez’ time at Los Blancos appeared to be fizzling out at the end of last season, before the Spaniard was brought back into the fold by manager Zinedine Zidane and handed a series of opportunities over the course of this campaign.
However, the 29-year-old winger appears to have no interest in remaining with the La Liga giants, meaning he could be a very attractive option for a number of European clubs, especially on a free transfer.
Though Arsenal have an abundance of attacking talent on the right-wing, both Nicolas Pepe and Willian have failed to live up to expectation thus far.
If Vazquez isn’t Arteta’s cup of tea, there is another wide option Arsenal could explore.
Thauvin has thrived as one of Marseille’s main attacking outlets, but unfortunately for fans of the French side it appears unlikely that Thauvin will put pen to paper on a new deal, meaning he would leave the club for free during the summer.
This is according to Marseille’s head of football Pablo Longoria, who conceded the Ligue 1 outfit were not holding much optimism surrounding his future with the club.
Unlike Vazquez, Thauvin also boasts the attractive asset of previous Premier League experience, spending two years at Newcastle.
Despite still featuring regularly for arguably the best side in Europe, Alaba remains adamant he wants a fresh start away from German giants Bayern Munich.
With Munich reportedly unwilling to meet some of Alaba’s wage demands, the Austrian international has sent the rumour mill into overdrive surrounding where he will play his football next season.
The Gunners have already sent central defensive duo Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis packing, while David Luiz remains out of contract in the summer.
Arteta could do far worse than attracting the Champions League winner to act as a leader on and off the pitch to the likes of young centre backs Gabriel and William Saliba.
Neverthless, Alaba looks destined for Spain, where Real Madrid and Barcelona are favourites to seal his signature.
The summer transfer window is just around the corner.
And the rumour mill is already starting to pick up speed.
Arsenal will not have a huge amount of money to spend, but Mikel Arteta will be hoping to make a number of moves, with loanee Martin Odegaard high up the list of priorities to bring in on a permanent deal.
But who would you sign? Get involved in our transfer window debate here.
It appears that above all else, Arsenal’s priority in terms of summer recruitment remains a playmaker.
There is the potential that the Gunners are priced out of a permanent move for loan signing Martin Odegaard, so will already be on the look-out for alternatives.
One name that is reportedly on Arteta’s shortlist is AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who is approaching the end of his contract with the Italian giants.
The Turkish international may be the most attractive option to Arsenal given his relatively low wage demands, the midfielder reportedly after £83,000-a-week, far less than the likes of fellow senior players in the Emirates dressing room.