There’s no doubt that Mikel Arteta’s side needs an injection of quality in the midfield and defence, and out of all the players linked with the club, it comes down to just four players. Of those four players, Arsenal only needs to snap up three to add another 60% of quality immediately.
Thomas Partey, Malang Sarr, Enis Bardhi, or Marc Roca are already highly regarded, but these four quality players could help inspire Arsenal to a top-four slot and which could end up as superstars in the Premier League.
Arsenal need some bite and resistance at the back and in the middle and the installation of Malang Sarr alongside William Saliba would be nothing short of a masterstroke. Both Sarr (21) and Saliba (19) could form a partnership that could see Arsenal through the next decade and with the likes of Kieran Tierney (23), the Gunners potentially have an exciting and dynamic trio.
I haven’t mentioned Hector Bellerin (25) because his time at the Emirates may be over as he looks towards playing in the Champions League and securing major honours. There’s a suggestion that the Spaniard doesn’t feel he can wait another two or three seasons to be on the big stage and who could blame him. Perhaps, this was why Arteta was so insistent on a long term deal for Cédric Soares.
In the middle, Arsenal need power, tenacity, finesse, and creativity and for me personally, Dani Ceballos isn’t the answer. He’s a decent player and has great vision and touch but I don’t think, he’s what Arsenal are looking for at this time. His game has certainly improved and he has the flair that Arteta needs but I’m just not convinced.
His replacement could be either Enis Bardhi (25) or Marc Roca (23), who have the tools to feed the likes of Nketiah, Martinelli, Aubameyang, and Lacazette. The pair split fan opinion in terms of which would be better in a similar position.
Enis Bardhi presses opponents and covers a lot of ground over 90 minutes, he can certainly pick a pass and is an attack-minded midfielder. He is excellent in dead-ball situations, enjoys dribbling, and has sublime close control but more importantly, he has a strong desire and great work ethic.
Marc Roca is a deep-seated midfielder who gives support to the backline and keeper by retrieving the ball and then pushing forward. In this way, he can assess the available options ahead before he distributes a killer ball into attacking areas.
The recent reports by Spanish newspaper La Razon (via TEAMtalk), identifying him as the ideal partner in the Arsenal engine room for Thomas Partey, would certainly make other clubs take note and significantly improve Arteta’s ailing side.
Arsenal need a heart, a competitive spine, and a determined unit that can assume control and dominate matches. They need to be able to kill off games when they get the chance and hold on to an advantage when they have it. The current side is incapable of doing either and it’s likely to cost them dearly in the next two weeks.
Thomas Partey (27) is the complete player, aggressive in defence and forceful in the attack. Excellent with and without the ball with the ability to close down space and limit opportunities but also to create chances. He is solid and intimidating at 6ft 1 and presents a fearsome prospect when going forward after gathering the ball from his centre-backs. He forms a conduit from front to back as he covers every inch of ground and exhibits his range of exquisite passes.
The prospect of a partnership between Partey and either Roca or Bardhi is enough to cause excitable tremors in North London. The total spend looks to be money well spent with Roca (Espanyol) available for between £14m -£18m. Thomas Partey (Atlético) is thought to be around the £45m mark and Bardhi could be prized away from Levante for around £12m.
In an ideal world, signing four quality players would probably be the best transfer window ever for Arsenal, with fans looking forward to next season as opposed to dreading further decline. If Arsenal are behind Arteta, they have to spend.
The good news is that they have players that could easily bring them close to the target figure of £63m. If Arsenal allowed Bellerin to leave, it would probably raise £30m, Kolasinac would bring in £14m and Sokratis could fetch £13m, that’s a total of £57m. It’s a case of using what you already have to get what you genuinely need. Let’s see what Raul and Edu can do!