Mikel Arteta’s redevelopment of the Arsenal squad could take a turn at the end of the season with a significant departure from the squad.
Hector Bellerin is reportedly open to leaving the club at the end of the campaign, with Paris Saint-Germain ready to reignite their interest in his services and Barcelona holding a long-term interest in the 25-year-old.
While the Spaniard has endured a decline in form during recent seasons, he is still a regular fixture in Arteta‘s first-choice line-up and is also vice-captain at the Emirates Stadium.
An exit would also leave Arsenal with only Cedric Soares as a recognised senior right-back in the squad, meaning a replacement would be necessary, and we have identified four targets who could be on Arteta’s wishlist.
Aarons‘ stock has risen significantly in recent seasons following impressive performances for Norwich City and, despite promotion from the Championship looking likely, the young full-back is set to leave the Canaries in the summer.
Interest in the 21-year-old is fierce, with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Tottenham and Manchester United among those linked with a move for the young defender, which leads to the potential of a bidding war.
Arsenal’s own interest in Aarons has been reported though and the fact he would be the undisputed first-choice right-back at the Emirates Stadium could be significant.
A deal would be an expensive one though, with Norwich commanding a fee in excess of £35m for the England U21 international.
A player who Arsenal have held long-term interest in, including last summer prior to his transfer to Inter Milan as the Gunners decided to focus on Bellerin and retain faith in their academy graduate.
Things could no go full circle, with Hakimi back on the agenda if Bellerin leaves and there being encouraging signs from Inter Milan for a potential transfer.
The Italian side’s precarious financial situation leaves the door open for a £40m sale, the Athletic has reported, and Arsenal could rival the likes of Chelsea in the hunt to sign the Moroccan ace.
With six goals and four assists this season, Hakimi isn’t perhaps a signing that would scream defensive reinforcement but, with Kieran Tierney on the opposing side, Arsenal would be significantly boosted in the final third.
Since leaving Chelsea in January 2020, Lamptey has improved significantly and is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in the Premier League – though his development this season has been hampered by a long-term injury layoff.
Still just 20, the England U21 international ticks the boxes for Arsenal as a long-term addition and one that would boost the homegrown quota, which is balanced precariously as the number of foreign spots within the squad are at their max.
Previously linked with Bayern Munich, Lamptey‘s services would attract a plethora of interest if he were to become available but again, the prospect of being one of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet may be significant.
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A more experienced option for Arsenal, Pereira’s situation at Leicester City is intriguing as opportunities for the Portuguese ace have decreased following the rise of James Justin.
Pereira has many years ahead of him still, aged 27, and is tied down until 2023 with the Foxes but may seek more regular first-team assurances in Brendan Rodgers’ side.
With just six Premier League appearances this season, Pereira’s services may be available but Leicester would likely command a hefty price – especially as Arsenal can be considered to be direct rivals.
Mikel Arteta and Edu also have to be careful balancing their number of foreign players, which is currently at it’s max though Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard are loan signings.