Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Nottingham Forest game
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is staring down the barrel of a midfield exodus this summer, with Thomas Partey reportedly piquing the interest of two clubs. Sporting director Edu may already have his hands full in the transfer window as Granit Xhaka is set to leave after a superb individual season.
Arsenal’s midfield trio has remained unchanged for much of the campaign, with Partey and Xhaka joined by club captain Martin Odegaard. Only recently has Partey dropped to the bench as Arteta tried and failed to salvage a dismal end to the season, which saw Manchester City pip them to the Premier League title.
Having made significant strides in 2022/23, resulting in a return to the Champions League, Arteta may have to rebuild two-thirds of his midfield during the summer. Xhaka is expected to join Bayer Leverkusen in a £13million deal, with his return to the Bundesliga merely a matter of ‘details’.
And according to The Mirror, Partey could be next as two unnamed Serie A sides are preparing to test the Gunners’ resolve.
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Arteta may have considered Partey untouchable several months ago, as one of the most highly-regarded deep-lying midfielders in the Premier League. But Jorginho’s promotion to the starting XI has seemingly given outsiders hope of poaching the Ghanaian.
Partey, 29, joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid back in 2020 in a £45m deal. Faced with the prospect of replacing him, Arteta and Edu have reportedly drafted up a four-man shortlist of midfield transfer targets.
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Front and centre of the Gunners’ wish list is Declan Rice. The England regular has made no secret of his desire to play on the Champions League stage and he is expected to leave West Ham this summer, although it remains to be seen whether David Moyes and co will receive their mammoth £120m asking price.
Also of interest is Brighton star Moises Caicedo, who put out a plea on social media asking the Seagulls to let him go amid serious interest from Arsenal back in January. Their £70m bid was ultimately snubbed on the south coast, and they could be met with fresh resistance at the end of the season with Alexis Mac Allister also poised to leave.
Close eyes will be kept on Chelsea academy product Mason Mount in a few weeks’ time, with the 24-year-old approaching the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal are joined by Liverpool and Manchester United in the hunt for his signature.
And finally, Ilkay Gundogan is reported to be the subject of ‘concrete interest’ from Arteta, and the German may be available as a free agent as his Manchester City contract winds down. But whether Pep Guardiola will allow one of his star midfielders to join a direct rival without taking action is another matter.
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