According to multiple sources, Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira is a transfer priority for AC Milan boss Marco Giampaolo, and that the Italian side are trying to secure the signature of the midfielder this summer.
If this transfer does go through, it will present a big hole in the heart of the Gunner’s midfield, and with the light transfer budget available to Unai Emery, it will be quite hard to adequately replace the Uruguayan.
Today, we look at 8 midfielders Arsenal can realistically target to replace Torreira if he moves to the San Siro or anywhere else:
1. DENNIS PRAET
Approximate cost: Around £22m
The most obvious and widely reported of Arsenal’s target, the Sampdoria midfielder has been tipped to join the Emirates even before the Torreira rumours emerged. Praet and teammate Joachim Andersen has been a part of several bids from Arsenal, and the Samps are expected to accept a bid of around £44m for the duo, which puts Praet’s cost at around £22m.
This is a bargain price for a midfielder who can offer the Gunners midfield with the much-needed steel and stability. Praet has himself made his intentions clear of joining a “top club in one of the four top leagues”.
Former Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo said that “Praet can be the Modric or the Pjanic of tomorrow” – watch out Arsenal fans!
2. FRANCK KESSIE
Club: AC Milan
Approximate cost: £30m
Kessie is one of the few players around the world who can play the box-to-box midfield role to perfection, and therefore it was a surprise when reports emerged of Milan looking to ship him out of the club as a part of their move for Torreira.
It was also reported that Milan were looking for a swap deal involving the two midfielders. While such a deal may present a monetary loss to Arsenal, especially since Torreira has a higher transfer value than Kessie, getting the Ivorian through a separate £30m transfer deal will be good business for the Gunners.
Kessie poses a significant goal threat for a midfielder (with seven goals and two assists last season) and is versatile enough to play across the middle of the park. He will slot right into Unai Emery’s style, and in today’s transfer market, represents good value for money at just £30m.
3. STEVEN NZONZI
Approximate cost: £18m – £22m
It has only been twelve months since Nzonzi crushed all rumours linking him to Arsenal by moving to Rome, but twelve months on, the move looks like a bad one. He has been an awkward fit into the Giallorossi’s plans and has been wanting for a move for some time now.
The rumours reached a peak point when Nzonzi went AWOL and refused to show up to Roma’s pre-season medicals. It has been reported that Roma will accept a fee of around £18m to £22m, with the fee varying with different sources.
Lyon has been touted as the most likely destination for the former World Cup winner. However, Arsenal should look to swoop in for their former target, and this move will be a bargain for them. Although at 30, Nzonzi is no more the energetic midfielder he was at Stoke City, he is still a World Cup winner and a fantastic player in his own right. He is capable of providing ample cover to an Arsenal backline that is likely to be full of new faces, and Unai Emery must act fast if he does not want to lose N’zonzi yet again.
4. DANI CEBALLOS
Club: Real Madrid
Approximate cost: Season long loan deal with an option to buy for £44m
When Zinedine Zidane joined Real Madrid, Ceballos’ Los Blancos career looked over, and he was linked to a host of clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham. But Madrid’s insistence that they will listen to offers only above £44m put Arsenal out of the reckoning, but recent developments have put them back in the race.
According to Marca, Ceballos does not want to give up on his Real Madrid dream, and therefore Madrid will allow him to move on a season-long deal with an option to make the move permanent.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) June 28, 2019
This is likely to suit Arsenal, and Ceballos’ qualities are evident enough to warrant a move to the Emirates. Ceballos is an extremely technically gifted midfielder and presents a credible threat when going forward, something that the Gunners lack after the departure of Aaron Ramsey and will lack even more if Torreira leaves.
However, £44m is a lot of money, and if Arsenal fail to secure Champions League football yet again, this move can cripple Arsenal’s budget for next season. Unai Emery must tread carefully but must act fast, with Tottenham showing interest in the Spain u-21 midfielder.
5. JEAN MICHAEL SERI
Approximate cost: £13m
Only 12 months ago, Seri was linked to every top club in the world, including Barcelona, and received lavish praise from Xavi himself. However, Fulham shocked the world and secured a deal for the midfielder. 12 months on, the Cottagers can’t sell him soon enough and are ready to move him on for just £13m, almost half of the £25m they paid for him last year.
He had a shaky first season in the Premier League, and couldn’t prevent his club from going down. However, Arsenal may be interested to take another look at a player they were so heavily linked to last year. Seri remains a capable ball-player, and his failure can be attributed to the poor performances of the players around him.
Seri is a typical Arsenal player – a player who is adept both defensively and offensively and has a killer long ball in him. However, Jean Michael Seri joined Galatasaray for a season long loan deal with an option to make the move permanent. Although Arsenal have lost the chance to sign the Ivorian this summer, they might get him in the next transfer window if, the Gunners go for him and practically, they should.
6. TOM CAIRNEY
Approximate cost: £20m – £30m
The second Fulham player in the list, the club captain was heavily linked to Arsenal in the winter transfer window, but Arsenal couldn’t cough up the £30m asking price that Fulham put on him. However, this season, Arsenal can expect to tie up Cairney for less than that, with Fulham looking to lighten their squad after going down.
Fulham’s number 10, Tom Cairney, is one of the better British midfielders around, and is more than adequate to play for one of the top Premier League clubs. Arsenal haven’t signed any home-grown players since Rob Holding.
Cairney is a fantastic midfielder, who is defensively solid while presenting a credible goal threat, with 19 goals and 15 assists in his previous two seasons in the Championship. While his output in the Premier League wasn’t good, that was mainly due to injury problems and poor performances from the entire Fulham squad. Arsenal should take another look at Cairney, and he represents a solid option at this price range.
7. DOMINIK SZOBOSZLAI
Club: Red Bull Salzburg
Approximate cost: £15m
According to Salzburg’s assistant coach Rene Maric, Szoboszlai has the “potential to become the best central midfielder in the world”. That’s high praise for the 18-year-old, who has been linked to a host of clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Arsenal, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, and Lazio.
However, according to Metro, Arsenal are leading the race, and Maric had to publicly refute that a deal was already done between the two clubs. Considered one of the hottest talents in the world, he has made 16 league appearances last year in what proved to be his breakthrough campaign and also made his national team debut with Hungary.
Spoke to the agent of Dominik Szoboszlai, who has confirmed that several top PL clubs are tracking his client.
Sources close to Arsenal say the Gunners are one of them. Szoboszlai has been described as akin to Toni Kroos and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. https://t.co/HpdlzMn6NE
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) June 19, 2019
According to Austrian outlet Spox.com, Salzburg are willing to accept a fee of around £17m for Szoboszlai, and will let him move only after the Champions League group stage. Arsenal have a long history of developing raw talents into world beaters, and if they can do the same with Szoboszlai, it may be one of the biggest coups in the club’s history. Even if Torreira doesn’t leave the club, Arsenal should look to sign the Hungarian midfielder.
8. BENJAMIN BOURIGEAUD
Approximate cost: £18m
Bourigeaud is one of the most in-demand players this season, with interests from England (Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool), Italy (Juventus, Napoli, Roma, AC Milan, Inter), and Spain (Sevilla). Rennes are demanding £18m for the 25-year-old, who enjoyed a stellar campaign last year, scoring 9 goals and providing 10 assists across all competitions.
Benjamin Bourigeaud has been linked with a move to Arsenal.https://t.co/7RF5LulFbL
— Arsenal FC News (@ArsenalFC_fl) June 24, 2019
Ironically, it was in a Europa League round of 16 tie against Arsenal last season, that Bourigeaud announced himself to the world with a terrific performance. Bourigeaud is one of the most attacking minded players in this list, and has a tendency to score long-range goals, along with being a free-kick specialist. He is a kind of player that Arsenal have been lacking since a long time, and Unai Emery may want to snap up the French midfielder sooner rather than later, irrespective of Torreira leaves the Emirates or not.