Arsenal made some brilliant signings during the summer transfer window – but the one area they failed to strengthen was their central midfield.
The Gunners currently have Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga but are reportedly looking to bolster their midfield options in January.
“I think their priorities will be the same as August: a midfielder and/or winger,” Fabrizio Romano told CaughtOffside. “But it will depend on the opportunities in the market and if they find the right player.”
We’ve taken a look at five midfielders that Mikel Arteta could look to sign in the January transfer window.
Tielemans has been the subject of links with Arsenal for over five years but a deal could finally materialise in 2023.
The midfielder, who scored the winning goal against Chelsea in the 2021 FA Cup final, has made over 150 appearances for Leicester City and was looking for a fresh challenge in the summer.
“I’ll give everything for the club until the last day,” he said in June. “But of course you have to listen to other opportunities, you have to look at your career, and sometimes you have to make choices. Maybe one will come my way.”
But Leicester were reportedly demanding a fee in the region of £40million and no club made an official bid for the Belgium international.
The Foxes have since had a disastrous start to the season and find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after failing to win any of their opening seven games.
Tielemans will have less than six months left on his Leicester contract once the January transfer window opens and Arsenal might now be able to sign him in a cut-price deal.
While Arsenal didn’t make an official bid for Tielemans in the summer transfer window, they definitely tried to sign Luiz from Aston Villa.
The Brazil international has developed into one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and recently showcased his abilities against the Gunners, scoring directly from a corner in Villa’s 2-1 defeat at the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta, who worked with the midfielder at Manchester City, wanted to bring him to north London but Arsenal saw bids of £20m, £23m and £25m rejected by Villa on transfer deadline day.
The 24-year-old, who has since been linked with Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Roma and Juventus, has less than a year left on his contract and could reach a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of England once the January window opens.
But Arsenal are keeping an open dialogue with Luiz and the midfielder has reportedly told friends he’s still intent on joining the Gunners in the January transfer window.
Steven Gerrard will want to avoid losing him on a free transfer and former Villa striker Frank McAvennie believes that they could sell Luiz for as little as £10m.
Whip the ball into the box for a teammate? 🙅♂️
Score direct from a corner? 👍
Douglas Luiz took the direct approach to get Aston Villa level against Arsenal 🎯 pic.twitter.com/TXE2n48R1Q
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 1, 2022
Luiz wasn’t the only Brazilian midfielder that was linked with a move to Arsenal in the summer transfer window as the Gunners also tried to sign Palmeiras’ Danilo.
The 21-year-old, who has already made over 100 first-team appearances, is regarded as one of the most talented young players in Brazil and Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar is reportedly a long-term admirer.
According to Goal Brasil, the Gunners made a £20million bid for the tough-tackling midfielder at the end of August.
But Palmeiras refused to sell Danilo at the time as the early closure of the Brazilian transfer window meant it was not possible for them to bring in a replacement.
They also wanted to keep him for the rest of their Copa Libertadores campaign but should be far more receptive to a sale in the January transfer window.
Danilo, who has a release clause worth £85.8m, has also been linked with AC Milan but Arsenal are currently leading the race for his signature.
“I think we can expect Arsenal to maintain their interest in Danilo, who they had set as a top tier target heading into the summer window,” Dean Jones told GiveMeSport.
“There was a temptation to try for him because of their situation but he’s a young player in Brazil and they are content that they will lead the way for him next year anyway.”
Since joining RB Leipzig from Red Bull Salzburg back in 2017, Laimer has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.
The 25-year-old can play as a No.6 in a deep-lying role or as a No.8 in a more advanced position and is renowned for his energetic, aggressive and relentless style of play, making him a tailor-made fit for the Premier League.
He’s recently been linked with moves to Liverpool and Bayern Munich but Arsenal might be able to convince him to the move to north London following their brilliant start to the season.
Like Luiz and Tielemans, the Austria international also has less than a year remaining on his current contract and could be a bargain buy in January.
A name familiar to Arsenal fans, Locatelli was heavily linked with a move to the Gunners in the summer of 2021 after starring for Sassuolo and Italy.
The midfielder rejected their advances and decided to remain in Serie A, joining Juventus on a two-year loan deal.
The Old Lady have an obligation to make the loan move permanent next summer and will pay an initial €25m, plus €12.5m in potential add-ons.
While the 24-year-old has shown glimpses of his talent in Turin, Calciomercato claim that Juventus manager Max Allegri has been left underwhelmed by the player. He also looks set to lose his place in the team once Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba are fully fit.
“I’m very sorry for this situation and I often ask myself if I have made mistakes,” Allegri told Corriere della Sera when asked about Juventus’ poor start to the 2022/23 season.
“The first answer that comes to mind is that Juve had been thought of in another way. With Rabiot, (Leandro) Paredes and Pogba in midfield plus Locatelli as the first substitute.”
Calciomercato’s report also states that Arsenal will reignite their interest in the Italy international. While Locatelli is still on loan at Juventus, an agreement that suits all parties could potentially be reached in January.