Arsenal are about to enter their second transfer window under Unai Emery and it may be a decisive one. Traditionally this window is fairly quiet, but the new Arsenal boss needs to make a few additions to help his side reach the top four.
It may seem like yesterday that Emery arrived, but the Spaniard will already be wary about his long-term position at the club if the Gunners fall off the pace in the race to finish in the top four. Fans and players will be desperate for Champions League football next season and there are a few areas where the squad would benefit from new arrivals to help Emery achieve these goals.
Arsenal have conceded 23 goals in the Premier League this season, compare that to the 7 Liverpool have conceded and you can see the major difference between why Liverpool are so far ahead. Both teams have actually scored 37 goals, but the Gunners defence lets them down. Newcastle (14th) have conceded less goals (22), that alone should be an eye-opener for the club as to where investments need to be made.
(Eric Bailly £1.11 here)
The Gunners had been linked with a move for Eric Bailly, though Jose Mourinho’s departure is likely to hand a lifeline to the defender’s career at the club. Fans will dream of the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, but this is unrealistic. Arsenal’s main defensive target is Mattijs de Ligt according to Spanish journalist Kike Marin. However, the Gunners will face stiff competition from Europe’s top clubs for the Dutchman, with the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain said to be interested. Arsenal may be able to offer him something those clubs cannot though, first team football.
(Fernando Calero £1.06 here)
A more realistic alternative to these may be Real Valladolid defender Fernando Calero. The Spanish defender has been in impressive form in La Liga this season, attracting interest from across Europe and could be available for as little as £10million.
(Nicolas Pepe £4.20 here)
Arsenal are also in the market for wide forward it seems. Danny Welbeck’s injury means the Gunners have a lack of attacking diversity in their squad, and could really benefit from a new wide forward arriving. The most heavily linked in this position include Nicolas Pepe of Lille. The Gunners have a long history of unearthing talent from the French leagues and bringing them to England, recent examples include Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi. The Ivorian winger has been in great form scoring 12 and assisting 5 more in 15 Ligue 1 appearances this season. His brilliant final ball and natural width is something Arsenal currently crave. His club are commanding a transfer fee of around £40million to sell their star player in the middle of the season, but reports suggest the Gunners may be willing to cough up such an amount to get their man.
An alternative to Pepe is Cristian Pavon (here) of Boca Juniors. The Argentinian winger hasn’t been in the best form this season, with transfer rumours potentially turning his head. Arsenal would have to pay a similar sum to sign the 22-year-old, with several suitors interested in bringing him to Europe.
With Aaron Ramsey set to leave the club, there are persistent links to Ever Banega (here), a midfielder that Unai Emery is a huge admirer of. Arsenal seem keen to pay his modest £18million release clause, but can they convince the playmaker to come to London?