Arsenal has been scouting possible midfield players ahead of the summer, with five names, in particular, being evaluated by the club’s recruiting office, according to CaughtOffside.
This season, the Gunners have been boosted by Thomas Partey’s improved form in a defensive midfield role, but there is an awareness that Granit Xhaka is not ideally suited to the more advanced role he’s begun playing, and it’s long been thought that he could soon move on after being targeted by Roma last summer.
Arsenal are looking for a true all-rounder to complement Partey, with sources close to the club telling CaughtOffside that work has been done on five midfielders to assess their suitability for that role.
The five players in question are Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips, Wolves’ Ruben Neves, Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, and Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz, with Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans still a possibility, as we reported earlier this season.
While a striker, or possibly two new additions upfront, is a priority for Arsenal, substantial work has been done to locate the appropriate midfielder, with no final judgment on who would be the best option made.
Tielemans has long been praised by Arsenal and other top clubs, though there is concern that he has allowed his form to deteriorate from his normal high standards this season.
Interestingly, a source close to Arsenal but not engaged in the recruitment process has already cast doubt on a potential deal for Leeds and England ace Phillips.
The 26-year-old has impressed for Leeds, but there is already a sense that stronger interest has been registered from some of Arsenal’s Premier League rivals, and that the north London giants are unlikely to deviate from their usual transfer structure to pay the kind of big money thought to be required to persuade Leeds to sell.
“Phillips is a good player,” the source stated, “but Arsenal would surprise me.” “The role he’s played for Leeds and England, as well as the system he’s worked in, is extremely different.” It would necessitate a significant change.”
Arsenal fans would obviously hope for a quick conclusion, but it appears that the club’s list of targets in all areas remains lengthy, with a process of narrowing down set to begin closer to the summer.