Mikel Arteta told £74m transfer target experiencing ‘temporary blip’ but Arsenal should be wary – Tom Canton

The idea of Arsenal spending Nicolas Pepe levels of money on a player seems mad when the last time it was tried, the result has not been an equal payoff from the investment.

It was therefore perhaps unsurprising that Arsenal decided not to pay the 90m (£74m) release clause in Alexander Isak’s contract in January when the club was looking at possible alternative striker options after their attempts to sign Dusan Vlahovic failed.

There was much debate amongst supporters whether or not Isak was the right player to pursue considering the Swede had scored just four La Liga goals so far this season.

It has been evident since the close of the January window that Mikel Arteta and Edu made the right decision in holding off from signing the 22-year-old, at least for now.

Isak has scored just once in the league since the start of November and Real Sociedad have made the decision to rotate him with Alexander Sorloth.

Curious if this is more of a dip in form rather than the last two seasons being a false dawn, The Arsenal Way reached out to Football Espana writer and La Real supporter Phil Ball.

“He’s starting most of the time when he’s fit. He’s had some injury problems, but we were in 3 competitions, so he was part of the rotations,” Phil said.

“He’s playing ok, but not scoring – but that’s a general problem in the side this season, not so much a specific one. He’s not a classic striker and prefers to get behind defences in space to use his speed, but teams have sussed him out a bit – in the same way as they’ve nullified Iñaki Williams (who is similar).

“Also his service has dropped off – Silva has been less effective this season. But it’s a blip for me. He’s very good. I’m told he’s slightly stubborn, well-mannered and intelligent but doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But once he starts scoring again, it’ll all flow. For me it’s a temporary blip. The team, in general, has lost its offensive way this season.”

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The Isak situation serves as a reminder to Mikel Arteta and Edu of what care needs to be taken in the summer. They cannot afford to sign the wrong striker to be the leading figure of this young promising side.

Despite the argument that this is a temporary lull, these fine margins and small dips could put off the Gunners from considering the player. Rightly so if alternative options are showing more consistent form.

Arsenal have an opportunity to qualify for the Champions League this season and doing so would see them take a step forward in the project ahead of what many people consider where the Gunners might have been in 2022.

It may also open paths to players who would not have considered a move to north London prior to achieving a place in Europe’s most elite competition.

Arsenal have been linked to other strikers such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton, Jonathan David from Lille and Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick.

Calvert-Lewin’s injury problems this season have suffocated opportunities for the England striker but both David and Schick already have over ten league goals this campaign and are expected to continue that fine form before the matches finish.

David was given an estimated price of €55m (£45.4m) should Arsenal wish to poach yet another player from Lille. Whereas French outlet Jeunes Footeux estimate that Schick would not be sold for less than €60m (£49.6m).

Whilst these prices are still high, considering the reflective output shown by the pair, the decision not to go to the £74m heights for Isak looks justified.

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