Premier League • England

Arsenal transfer news: Edu breaks silence on Lucas Paqueta deal with wider point about midfield need

Lucas Paqueta, Lyon v Porto March 2022

Arsenal transfer chief Edu has ruled out a summer transfer for fellow Brazilian Lucas Paqueta, adding that the Gunners look well-stocked in midfield.

The north London club have had a solid transfer window so far, making five signings in a range of positions. Striker Gabriel Jesus is the marquee arrival from Manchester City. He has hit the ground running with three goals in four pre-season games.

More recently, though, Arsenal also snapped up Oleksandr Zinchenko from the Premier League champions.

But despite the new arrivals, the lack of a second midfield signing for Arsenal has remained a key focus. Former Porto man Fabio Vieira is an exciting prospect, but there is talk of interest in Lyon star Paqueta among other targets.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed an exciting rise in Ligue 1 and as a Brazil international. As a result, Arsenal have reportedly explored his valuation with the French club.

Speaking to TNT Sports Brazil, though, former Brazil football chief Edu insisted that he only has “admiration” for Paqueta.

“I’m very respectful when I talk about Lucas,” the Gunners’ technical director said.

“I’m a guy who likes him a lot, I’ve always liked him, since my time with Brazil’s national team.

“He’s had a great season, he was considered the best [overseas] player in the French league.

“But today, there really isn’t any kind of talk, there’s only my admiration for the player, because the squad today is, in the position he plays, I think we’re very well served in this regard.”

As well as Paqueta, Arsenal are reportedly keen on Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio.

Paqueta, who has 33 Brazil caps, has scored 20 goals and assisted 13 others in 76 Lyon appearances.

Paqueta-type deal perfect for Arsenal

Arsenal would be wise to get another midfielder in before the end of the summer transfer window.

As well as new signing Vieira, the Gunners have more exciting youngsters in Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.

However, their lack of real experience showed last season as Arsenal lost out to Tottenham in the Premier League top-four race.

A new midfield signing such as Paqueta would offer that know-how and experience, amid his senior role on the international stage and Europa League experience too.

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Arsenal do of course have the likes of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey in their midfield too.

But there is uncertainty over the long-term future of Xhaka, whose deal runs out in 2024, and Elneny, whose terms expire next summer.