Arsenal transfers: Verdict given on stunning £200m double deal as Arteta tipped to axe key midfielder

Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor claims it is very unlikely that Arsenal pursue a £200million double deal this summer, despite the fact there are massive questions that need to be answered over Mikel Arteta’s midfield in recent weeks.

Agbonlahor suggests the Gunners need to upgrade their engine room this summer, with he likes of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Jorghino not having the necessary quality to compete at top European level next season.

Brighton star Moises Caicedo was a major target last summer. And, despite the fact he has since signed a new long-term Seagulls contract, Arsenal are still expected to make another play for the Ecuador international when the current campaign ends – despite his price tag rocketing to £100million.

The Gunners are also said to be confident of landing West Ham and England star Declan Rice. However, the Hammers do not want to let their skipper leave for anything less than £100m.

But with both Partey and Xhaka being in an out of Arteta’s starting XI in recent weeks as the club’s title bid has stalled, Agbonlahor thinks a significant upgrade is needed in central midfield if Arsenal are to mount another challenge for top honours next season.

However, he has major doubts over whether they will attempt to move for both Caicedo and Rice, while it could be the end of the line for Partey.

Agbonhalor told Football Insider: “Looking at Thomas Partey, he’s not been very good recently.

“I’ve watched his last few games and it seems that he doesn’t have the legs. I do think they need help in midfield.

“Xhaka is questionable as well, and Jorghino isn’t the answer long-term.”

Caicedo, Rice double deal highly unlikely

And while Abgonhalor rates both Rice and Caicedo very highly, he’s struggling to see a scenario where Arsenal can afford on spending £200m on both.

He added: “I do think Declan Rice and Caicedo would be good business, a good pair – but I can’t see them spending £200m on both of them. It’s got to be one or the other.

“I think Caicedo will want to leave Brighton this summer and that new contract isn’t likely to stop that.”

Caicedo is probably more of a box-to-box midfielder than Rice, although the England man has improved that aspect of his game in a tough season for the Hammers domestically.

So, at this stage, it just remains to be seen which direction Arteta wants to go in – especially if he believes that he can make his engine room better by ousting either Partey or Xhaka, or even both.

The Gunners are back in action on Sunday when they to Newcastle looking to close the gap on Manchester City at the top of the table to a point.

READ MORE: Arsenal prepare colossal €70m offer to tempt former star back to Emirates as Arteta settles on dream new central midfield axis