What Mikel Arteta wants out of his centre-forwards has been revealed by a current Arsenal striker, with his comments hinting at the fate of a mooted Everton raid.
The Gunners will be on the hunt for at least one new striker this summer. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona in January, and try as they might, Arsenal failed to replace his firepower.
That left just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah to carry the can centrally. Lacazette has done a sterling job bringing those around him into play, though both he and Nketiah are free agents-to-be this summer.
There has been talk from L’Equipe of a one year extension for Lacazette. That cautious approach seemingly stems from Arsenal being burned in the past by aging players on high salaries (Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil).
Regardless, Arsenal look certain to qualify for Europe in one form or another. They therefore cannot enter next season with just Lacazette on the books if he indeed does pen fresh terms.
As such, Arsenal have been linked with a lengthy list of targets to bolster Arteta’s ranks.
Darwin Nunez, Alexander Isak, Victor Osimhen and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have all been indexed to Arsenal in recent months.
Everton’s Calvert-Lewin would arguably be the safest pick on paper given he holds extensive Premier League experience.
Calvert-Lewin doesn’t suit Arteta demands
However, Arsenal youngster Mika Biereth, 19, has now spoken to the Athletic and revealed what his manager favours from his centre-forwards.
Biereth – a summer recruit from Fulham – suggested Arteta wants his strikers to drop deep and link the play.
That is the polar opposite of what Calvert-Lewin does, with the Toffees hitman known for being a penalty box poacher and living on the last defender.
Everton could be forced to sell Calvert-Lewin
Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison could both depart this summer as Everton's finances take hit.
“Mikel Arteta likes the striker to play in the No. 10 pocket, so it’s just about adding those little things,” Biereth told the Athletic.
“Becoming comfortable dropping into that space where midfielders open it up for you, which we didn’t really do at Fulham.
“At Fulham, in my two years as a scholar, we played a 4-4-2 with a diamond. We didn’t play (intricate) football as much – it was more channel balls and fighting (for the ball). At Arsenal, it’s a different style.
“Flo (Balogun) came and we played two up front but we played close together as a pair.
“He’s gone (to Middlesbrough) so now we play with one No. 10 and one striker – you’ve just got to be flexible.”
Even in the unlikely event Everton did warm to selling their talisman this summer, it seems he does not possess the type of game Arteta desires.