The Gunners’ starting line-up could look very different come August if they are able to get these deals over the line
The transfer window is not even open yet but Arsenal have already been busy.
The Gunners are being linked with multiple players and have already seen their first attempt at a summer piece of business fall short, after they failed in an attempt to sign Emi Buendia.
Mikel Arteta’s side submitted a bid for the player, but the Argentinian opted to join Aston Villa from Norwich City instead after being presented a more appealing package.
That is unlikely to be the last we hear from Arsenal this window though. footballaudit understands that Edu is on the lookout for players in at least five positions this summer in what promises to be a busy window at the Emirates Stadium.
Of the positions he’s targeting, a new central attacking midfielder remains high on the list, while a goalkeeper, left-back, right-back and central midfielder are all positions the Gunners want to strengthen in.
With that in mind, Arteta’s best starting line-up could look very different by the time the transfer window closes on August 31.
Firstly in goal, the club have been linked with signing Andre Onana from Ajax for a fee believed to be in the region of £7m.
The Cameroon keeper is in the final year of his contract and with Bernd Leno open to an exit, Arsenal are keen not to be caught short in the hunt for a replacement.
However, Onana’s appeal against a drugs ban he’s currently serving at the Court of Arbitration for Sport could complicate things as he’s currently unable to even train until February next year.
If that ban is reduced, though, the 25-year-old could be in with a chance of featuring at the Emirates next campaign.
Moving onto the defence, and while the Gunners are keen to keep their business quiet this summer when it comes to signing a left-back, they have already been linked with Lille’s right-back Mehmet Zeki Celik.
The Turkey international helped topple the might of PSG en route to the Ligue 1 title this season but is likely to be available for around just £15m this summer.
With Hector Bellerin likely to leave, there could be a spot for Celik in the starting XI next campaign if he can see off competition from Cedric and Calum Chambers.
Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney will remain first choice at left-back with Gabriel and Rob Holding probably just about shading it over Pablo Mari and William Saliba as things stand.
In central midfield, reports have emerged linking Arsenal with Wolves’ Ruben Neves as a potential partner for Thomas Partey.
Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira are all likely to leave this window meaning that a new central midfielder will be needed and the £35m Portugal international could be the right man for the job.
Yves Bissouma also continues to be linked and football audit understands that he is keen on the idea of a move to the Emirates.
Finally, in terms of likely recruits this summer, it seems that the Gunners’ primary target in the number 10 position is Martin Odegaard after they failed to land Emi Buendia.
The Norway international is set to go back to Real Madrid and be assessed by new manager Carlo Ancelotti in pre-season meaning this deal could roll on for a while.
Arteta has already indicated that he and Edu are likely to conduct much of their business this summer after the Euros and the Spaniard has openly admitted he wants to bring Odegaard back permanently if possible.
“We have a very clear and strong opinion on what we would like to do,” he said after the final game of the season against Brighton.
“He’s not our player. We will have discussions in the next few weeks. And respect first of all because he’s a Real Madrid player, and we will have those communications.
“We’ve tried to make everything that we could to get Martin performing for the team, which I think he’s done.
“And he’s adapted really well to our way of playing and to our football club. And hopefully we have given him as well the hope and the feeling that it could be a good place for him.”
Reports suggest that Real could demand a fee as high as £40m for the Norway captain, although the likelihood is that Arsenal will want to get him for less than that given their restricted budget amid the lack of European football for the first time in 25 years next season – and the ongoing financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This season Odegaard has been used in the Number 10 role with exciting Hale Enders Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka either side of him, while you would assume that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will begin the campaign in the centre forward role where he finished 2020/21.
Arsenal’s best XI if Edu can complete £97m quadruple transfer swoop: Onana; Celik, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Neves; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.