A lot of transfer activity will have to unfold over the next three weeks for Arsenal to be truly ready for the start of the new Premier League
Arsenal’s biggest problem concerns Martin Odegaard and the likelihood that he won’t be returning to the Emirates Stadium this summer after a sparkling loan spell from Real Madrid in the second half of last season. The Norwegian was the Gunners’ most consistent creator during his time at the club and so it’s a problem he probably won’t be back.
However, this summer’s transfer market landscape presents Arsenal with a number of alternative options. James Maddison has been mentioned as a potential target with Leicester City reportedly open to letting the England international leave for the right price. Maddison would certainly improve Arteta’s squad.
Bernardo Silva, however, would be a better fit. Despite being a key figure for title-winning Manchester City last season, it’s claimed the Premier League champions are willing to let the Portuguese midfielder leave in order to raise funds for transfer targets of their own – see Jack Grealish and Harry Kane.
Without the budget of some of their rivals, Arsenal have to be smarter and shrewder in the transfer market and targeting Silva for a switch this summer would certainly be smart. City are unlikely to receive many, if any offers, from abroad due to the financial climate in most of European soccer, which means the Gunners could be Silva’s only viable option.
What’s more, Arteta already knows the 26-year-old well having worked with him for a number of years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant. While Arsenal might not be the most attractive project to a player who was crowned a Premier League champion just two months ago, but Arteta’s relationship with Silva could be key in persuading him his future lies at the club.
Arteta’s midfield is in the process of being hollowed out this summer. Dani Ceballos and Odegaard have both returned to Real Madrid after loan spells in North London while Granit Xhaka is widely expected to make a move to Roma before the end of the window and Matteo Guendouzi has been sent out on another loan deal.
Albert Sambi Lokonga has been signed from Anderlecht, but the Gunners will need more than just the addition of an untested teenager to evolve their midfield and point the team as a whole in the right direction again. In Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe, they have two key figures in place, but Arteta needs creators.
This is where Silva could come in. At 26, he has plenty left in the tank and would almost certainly become a central pillar of Arteta’s team such is his versatility to play in a number of different positions across the attacking line. Silva is most effective through the middle, but also like to drop deep and can even play out wide. His signing would be an intelligent one.