Edu Gasper is already busy trying to source alternatives to the impressive Martin Odegaard, but be in no doubt that if a deal for Norway’s sweet-footed baller is possible, Arsenal will add him to the squad even if they only add just one player in the summer. However, it would be remiss to ignore other players for the creative midfielder role. Nabil Fekir (27) is again on the list of possibilities and would surely jump at the chance to establish himself in the Premier League at this stage of his career.
Fekir has been on Arsenal’s radar for some time and they failed to get the deal done when Unai Emery was in charge, which was a major setback. Had that deal gone through, the much-maligned Spaniard may have found more consistency and thrust during the Ozil debacle.
What is Fekir likely to bring to the table? He’s someone who loves to attack. He is blessed with the balance of a gymnast and the speed of a sprinter, the Frenchman can also supply crosses from the left or right flanks.
He has a great left foot, which can strike a ball sweetly, especially from a free-kick, thus providing greater scoring opportunities from a dead ball situation. Fekir also loves to dribble and any avenue will do, either past or around or through a defender, it makes absolutely no difference.
He is also someone who can strike from range and isn’t afraid to do so. In short, the player is not the same but similar, to Mo Salah and that’s perhaps why Liverpool had shown interest in him previously. Price-wise, he’d cost around £50m and if Odegaard was at the same price, then it’s a no contest, but Fekir is an extremely good player and could impress for the Gunners.
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Norwich Midfielder Emi Buendia (23) is also in the frame regardless of the outcome of Odegaard’s signature and it would be a fabulous addition with the compact and skilful playmaker bulking up the middle of the park. Buendia has great close control, good balance, and vision and is tireless in attack and defence, something Arteta would welcome.
Rumour has it that Arsenal made contact with his club previously but was told that no deal would be considered until the end of the current campaign. Could they pick it up again in the summer? It looks like a viable option.
Buendia would also add a threat from outside the box with a fabulous right foot but he can thread a killer pass to the running forwards that are likely to see him in contention for a slot in the Arsenal team. He splits defences with twenty-yard passes, but will also run on in support to unpick a backline. He would certainly provide a cutting edge for the likes of Saka, Lacazette, or Aubameyang and the goals would certainly flow.
Elsewhere, there’s a forlorn hope that the Gunners will pay big bucks for Jack Grealish, but the price may be out of their league with Villa reluctant to part company with their irreplaceable asset. It would, however, be a statement of intent for next season but the figure of £70m – £100m is going to provide a substantial hurdle to any deal.
We’ll keep you posted as the names pop up but it’s certainly going to be an interesting summer for the Gunners.