Mikel Arteta has suggested that he would like to bring a new creative midfielder into his Arsenal side ahead of next season.
Arteta has been vocal about his desire to make changes to his squad this summer. Despite an upturn in form over the last month, Arsenal can no longer finish higher than eighth and will need to recruit in order to bridge the gap to the top.
It is understood that the Spaniard will prioritise bringing in defensive reinforcements. A weak backline, which has conceded 46 league goals, has proved costly for Arsenal this season.
Forwards are also on his wishlist, with the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette still undecided.
But Arteta has now spoken about the importance of a good ‘number 10’, reflecting on their presence in Arsenal teams of yesteryear.
“Look at the players that we had in the past at this club in those positions,” Arteta said to Sky Sports (via Goal).
“You go back to Cazorla, to Rosicky, to (Andrey) Arshavin when he played there, to (Aaron) Ramsey when he played there, to (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan when he came in. Even Jack Wilshere used to play in those pockets all the time.
“That is a lot of players who are now not here. We have to renew that cycle, because if not, those kind of players won’t be there for us anymore. They are a big part of what any squad needs.”
END OF THE ROAD FOR OZIL?
Arteta’s comments appear to suggest that Mesut Ozil is not a part of his long-term plans.
The German has not featured since the restart, with the club citing a back injury as the reason behind is absence.
But some have suggested that the real reason he is out of the side is due to a lack of effort both in games and in training.
Arteta has so far refused to reveal what the plans for Ozil, who has one year left on his contract, are beyond the current campaign.
But the fact he is considering recruiting a new player in the same position would point towards an impending exit.
On such high wages and offering little in return, the Gunners may view moving Ozil on as smart business.
The funds his departure would free up would also provide them with more freedom to move in regard to transfers.