Arsenal are pushing through a move for a Newcastle target who first came to their attention in January, and the arrival would nudge a regular starter into an altered role, per reports.
Arsenal’s backline took on a new look for the current campaign, with Oleksandr Zinchenko ousting Kieran Tierney at left-back and William Saliba pushing Ben White over to right-back.
White, Saliba, Gabriel and Zinchenko have combined to produce one of the meanest defences in the Premier League this term. However, an unfortunate back injury suffered by Saliba coincided with a run of seven matches in which Arsenal failed to keep a clean sheet.
White could ordinarily have returned to his more customary centre-back position and deputised fore Saliba. However, an injury to Takehiro Tomiyasu ensured White had to remain at full-back, with the less than impressive Rob Holding struggling in Saliba’s absence.
The Gunners have been heavily linked with adding depth at right centre-back this summer. Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi is high on their radar, according to the Daily Mail.
However, Football Insider put forward a different view, claiming a new right-back could be signed who’d then allow White to feature more heavily back at centre-half.
FI report Arteta is seeking a more attack-minded option at right-back with both White and Tomiyasu centre-backs by trade.
Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda is the man FI believe could be on the move to Arsenal. The 18-year-old emerged on both Arsenal and Newcastle’s radars back in January.
More recently, German outlet BILD claimed Arsenal are determined to sign Fresneda at the second time of asking. BILD were reporting on the future of Fresneda due to Borussia Dortmund’s interest in the player.
Fresneda hails Arteta; price tag revealed
The Athletic interviewed Fresneda in March and the young Spaniard admitted he’s a huge fan of the work Arteta is doing at the Emirates.
His response came when asked if the manner in which Valladolid plays is similar to that implemented by Arteta in north London.
“I like Arteta a lot because I think he’s a great coach,” said Fresneda. “I follow the European leagues and I think the work he’s doing with his club is fantastic.
“But now with [Valladolid manager] Paulo Pezzolano and before with [former boss] Pacheta we do that style of play, and that style is the one I like the most.”
The style of play referenced was pressing high, heavy on possession and forward-thinking. On the surface, Fresneda’s spell at Valladolid may well be the perfect stepping stone to Arsenal.
Fresneda’s current contract contains a release clause worth €30m (approx. £27m). However, a deal for a more modest €20m (approx. £17.7m) can reportedly be struck, per the Athletic.