Five players Arteta should target in summer
It's fair to say Arsenal's season hasn't been going to plan so far.
Creativity has been severely lacking, as have goals, whilst everyone – including Mikel Arteta – knows there is big work to do on the defensive side regardless of stats showing an improvement from last season.
Here we look at five players that Arteta should target in next transfer window.
Number 5. Diego Carlos
It would be an understatement to say that the signing of William Saliba hasn't worked out. He was tipped to come in and have a similar impact to Wesley Fofana at Leicester, but it hasn't happened for whatever reason. The defender was loaned to Nice already this January.
Plus, add to this that Arsenal terminated the contractwith Sokratis and Mustafi left for Schalke 04It leaves Arsenal with 5center-back options: David Luiz, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Pablo Marí and Callum Chambers.
Chambers is likely to leave next Summer and Luiz contract ends in June and the Brazilian is already 33.
This means that it could open space for the Gunners to sign another another centre back, regardless of Gabriel having settled in quite well. That's where Diego Carlos, 27, comes in.
Carlos, who is currently with Sevilla, won 62% of his aerial duels last season with an even more impressive 77% tackle success rate. Throw in the fact he made a rather ridiculous five clearances per 90 and you can see how he'd alter what has been a weakness in the Arsenal squad for years. He's no mug in possession either with 84% pass completion.
Number 4. Samuel Chukwueze
The next name on our list is another from La Liga. This time it's Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal. Truth be told, the Arsenal hierarchy should have targeted him when they splashed out £72m on Nicolas Pepebut, hey, it's not too late to do the right thing.
The Nigerian winger is still only 21-years-old. Despite his tender age, he's just clocked up his century of appearances for the Yellow Submarine.
His time in Spain has seen him average a goal contribution every three and a half games but it's his all-round game that would suit Arsenal. He plays predominantly on the right wing but is left-footed meaning he drifts inside with his pace and trickery a nightmare to defend against.
That then creates room for an attack minded full back to create an overload. £30m could seal the deal too!
Number 3. Max Aarons
We've just spoke of how Chukwueze would combine well with an offensive right back. Step forward Norwich's Max Aarons.
If we're being honest, Tariq Lamptey would have been our first choice full back but his new contract at Brighton makes it a close to impossible deal to do. That's not the case for Aarons and he ticks plenty of boxes.
For starters, a fee of under £20m has been mentioned but on top of that he has proven himself in the Premier League. During Norwich's relegation campaign last season he played in 36 matches and was one of a few positives for the Canaries.
In that time he attempted 77 crosses and created seven big chances. This season, in the second tier, he's averaging 3.6 crosses per game with 32 key passes to his name. Hector Bellerin's days could be numbered.
Number 2. Riqui Puig
Yep, we're in Spain again. It's a market that Arteta knows well though so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him and Edu tapping into it in a big way over the next window or two. Riqui Puig is a youngster from Barcelona that is known to be on the radar of the North London club.
True, it's not as exciting as links to Jack Grealish but that move is never going to happen – the betting odds back that up too.
Puig meanwhile could materialise as a real possibility with the 21-year-old, who has been compared to Andres Iniesta, having featured in just 21 minutes of La Liga action this season. He could take the place of Odegaard who is likely to return to Real Madrid when his loan ends.
Puig's ability to receive the ball on the half turn in the middle of the park could complement the attributes of Thomas Partey fantastically well.
The only bad news is any deal for him might need to involve a buy-back clause.
Number 1. Boubakary Soumare
Sitting top of our list of Arteta targets is a slightly left field choice in Boubakary Soumare. The central midfielder would, like Partey, bring power and drive to the engine room of the team. Everything suggests he'd be an upgrade on Granit Xhaka.
The PSG youth product has struggled for game time with Lille this season but that's nothing to do with ability rather than the fact Soumare has publicly stated his desire for a move.
You shouldn't read into his attitude though. Soumare left PSG - and the city he'd spent his entire life - with a contract on the table because he wanted to play football.
The holding midfielder offers qualities that have seen comparisons drawn with Paul Pogba and his presence in midfield along with Partey would be an intimidating one with two players who can run, stick a foot in and, most importantly, play.
There you have it, five players Arteta should target. We all know that Arsenal’s transfer business is always harder to predict than NBA Trade Rumors by TwinSpires Edge.
Nonetheless, the board should start already thinking about signings and how to give Arteta the players he needs to turn the ship around.