Mikel Arteta might enter the summer transfer window with the hopes of shaping an Arsenal squad that will smoothly fit his tactics but his plans are bound to be impacted by the financial and contractual repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
A study by the Football Observatory at the Swiss-based International Centre for Sports Studies has claimed that the total market value of players in Europe’s top five leagues will suffer a drop of 28%, from €32.7 billion to €23.4 billion, due to the global health crisis. Meanwhile, England is set to witness a minimum drop of 20% as clubs will not have the usual amount of money to spend in the transfer market.
The Gunners spent a significant amount of money on signings last summer, with £72 million laid out for the transfer of Nicolas Pepe alone. The London giants are unlikely to repeat the same trend this summer due to the uncertain nature of the market but big Premier League powerhouses are believed to have already set their eyes on players they could poach from clubs who will be in desperate need of money.
The current predicament will also make it easier for clubs to manipulate the situation to their advantage by going for some of the most sought-after players for half their original market value.
Arsenal presently sit at ninth place on the Premier League standings, with three points separating them and sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers. Finishing in the top four at the end of the season seems improbable for the Emirates outfit and Mikel Arteta will surely be looking to bolster his squad for a genuine challenge next term.
With that in mind, we take a look at three players Arsenal could sign this summer:
#1 Gabriel Magalhaes
Gabriel Magalhaes has emerged as one of the most enviable young defenders in Europe, courtesy of his solid displays at the heart of the Lille defence.
The 22-year-old started his career at Avai FC before making his move to Les Dogues in 2017 for a fee of around £1.5 million. The centre-back did not immediately hit the ground running with the top-tier French outfit and was sent out on loan to Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb.
The Brazilian has, however, broken into the first-team fold in the last two seasons and has established himself as a regular in Christophe Galtier’s squad. He has played in all of Lille’s Champions League group-stage ties this term and was particularly impressive when they faced Chelsea in the competition a few months ago.
Magalhaes is understood to have attracted the interest of London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea as well as Merseyside outfit Everton in the last few months. While the Blues are struggling to find a settled combination in their back-line, the Gunners are still keen on strengthening the centre of their defence, despite having signed Pablo Mari on loan in the winter transfer window.
Meanwhile, Lille president Gerard Lopez has admitted that Magalhaes is set to join a “really big club” soon while also confirming that two clubs from the UK are actively monitoring him.
A series of French reports had claimed that Arsenal had a bid for the Lille centre-half turned down back in January but the English giants are expected to continue their mission to bring him to the Emirates this summer, where he will reunite with former teammate, Nicolas Pepe.
#2 Orkun Kokcu
Feyenoord sensation Orku Kokcu continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal after he earned admirers across Europe with his scintillating performances during his breakthrough season in the Eredivisie.
The 19-year-old, who initially represented the Netherlands up to the U-19 level before making the switch to Turkey at the U-21 level, has registered three goals and six assists in 33 appearances for De Stadionclub this season. He has received huge praise for his tactical positioning, passing range and off-the-ball movement on the pitch, with his qualities said to be particularly ideal for a central midfield role.
The teenager, whose current deal with Feyenoord is set to expire in 2023, is considered to be the perfect long-term successor to Mesut Ozil and is highly-rated by Arsenal technical director Edu, who is reported to have already begun talks to bring him to the Emirates.
Feyenoord boss Dick Advocaat confirmed Arsenal’s interest in Kokcu back in March and reports suggest the Dutch giants would be willing to part with the playmaker for a fee of around £25 million. Fortunately for the Gunners, the youngster might even be available at a lower price considering the uncertain nature of the upcoming transfer market.
#3 Mykola Matviyenko
Mykola Matviyenko has emerged as one of the surprising names on Arsenal’s summer transfer list courtesy of his solid displays for Shakhtar Donetsk this season.
The 24-year-old, who has made 18 appearances for the Ukrainian giants in the present campaign, is a highly skilled left-back who is also capable of playing at the centre of the defence. He has tallied three goals and as many assists for the club so far this term, proving that he is as efficient in the final third as he is in the defensive area.
The Saky-born defender was linked with a move to the Emirates throughout the January transfer window and the Gunners might consider signing him again this summer.
The injury to Kieran Tierney and the rumours of Sead Kolasinac’s departure from Arsenal have left Mikel Arteta with yet another defensive void to fill and he will be keen to resolve the issue with an inexpensive signing like Matviyenko.
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