Arsenal should be looking at these attacking midfielders who fit the transfer model (Opinion)

Arsenal are supposedly interested in a deal to sign James Maddison from Leicester City this summer, with Sky Sports claiming a deal would cost in excess of £70 Million, which surely means there are much better viable options that we should be looking at.

Following the Coronavirus pandemic, finances of many clubs have been pushed to their limits, and naturally transfer fees and negotiations over moves are much more stringent at present.

With that in mind, the selling of major assets from some of Europe’s biggest clubs is now a necessity, while many Premier League clubs retain strength thanks to the division’s favourable TV deals and rich owners.

Arsenal certainly appear to be stretching their financial muscle this summer, spending in excess of £75 Million on Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White at this early point in the window, and are still looking to continue to build a squad worthy of bridging the gap on our rivals higher up in the table.

After splashing around £50 Million on Ben White, we are now believed to be targeting an attacking midfielder for a fee in excess of that of the English defender, with the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Maddison believed to be on our radar, but there must be better options who suit our recent transfer policy of buying young players with the potential to become world stars, and there are a number of others who should be on our radar.

Some relatively untested young prospects that are worth looking at are Thiago Almada, who is currently playing regularly in Argentina, and Florian Wirtz who is enjoying his role in Germany.

The latter would be my favoured option, having proven himself worthy of a regular role for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, but his tender age definitely raises question marks on whether this would be the right time for him to move on, although I would love to see him come in and rival Smith Rowe in behind the striker.

Christopher Nkunku, Nicolo Zaniolo, Martin Odegaard and the lesser-known Nikola Vlasic are players who should all be considered realistic targets however. The latter is currently plying his trade in Russia with CSKA Moscow, scoring 11 goals and picking up five assists in only 26 league outings last term, and at the age of 23, he still has plenty of scope for progression.

Zaniolo’s injury record is no doubt a major red flag, which could leave us with Nkunku and Odegaard, who have both been strongly linked with a move to us in recent windows, especially with the latter having enjoyed a very impressive short-term loan at the Emirates earlier in 2021.

I struggle to believe that any of these players are likely to cost in excess of £60 Million, and I dare say that each has a higher ceiling of potential to meet than the likes of Maddison.

Who would be you pick to come in and and bolster our number 10 role?

Patrick

60 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    We need to improve in midfield at least if we are to fight for top 4. Im happy we’ve strengthened defense but that won’t be enough

    1. funky says:

      We scored 55 goals last year. Gave away less goals. Though White is a good signing, we needed midfield to connect our forwards, and a Laca replacement. A good midfield is a must, and a young forward would be good along with it if Laca leaves

  2. jon fox says:

    PATRICK, were it up to me, Id choose Maddison above all the others you list and by a distance , as he is top Prem proven.

    But as a realist, I KNOW Kroenke will not let us pay his huge fee, so I disregard him as a possibility. Seems to me that MA is determined to get Odegaard as his real choice, though I do not understand why TBH, as he lacked much when on loan, IMO.

    HE WAS GOOD IN JUST TWO GAMES AND NOTHING SPECIAL IN ALL THE OTHERS AND I DO NOT SEE HIM AS A KEY INFLUENTIAL PLAYER IF WE WERE TO BUY HIM.

    BUT I DO think we will get him and far cheaper than is being suggested too, given RM’s financial troubles.

    1. Shortboygooner says:

      Spot on JF

      1. Lwanga Henry says:

        If we are building unbeatable arsenal team, we need locateli please , cos he is a complete soccer player. But in number ten role , we can look at Aouar cos he is a ball possaser cos we dont have many in our team that can contain the ball for 30 seconds and according to arteta style, we must be with the ball most of the time its different from arsene wenga’s style of one tarch flowing and speed

        1. Mwani says:

          If is that so, we need Renato Sanchez

    2. Chris says:

      I agree with your analysis above and all the points raised. I also consider Maddison a better option (not only because he is Pl proven, but because he is just a better player overall and will make an instant impact) and think that odegaard’s first loan spell was nothing special. If not Maddison, I d rather gamble on Florian Wirtz if we are building for the future.

    3. I says:

      You’re right JF.
      We need a good mix of young and experience players to achieve short term results while gradually adding for the future. There’s no guarantee that the young ones we purchase now will stay with us in a long term. Especially the foreign players.

    4. RSH says:

      it’s unfortunately the likely scenario a lot of us dont want. but yes i do expect to see odegaard back here. because we are very much used to these things happening and just flirting with statement signings instead of actually going through with them.

  3. SAMAILA DANLAMI says:

    Maddison please

  4. RW1 says:

    If we end this window with most of the dead wood inc xhaka kolasinac willian and kolasinac still on the books and having failed to bring in a quality AM it’s going to be another stop go season hovering around 7th place and hoping others above us will stumble … as for the attacking option … would be happy with aouer or silva if grealish sidelines him or even isco .. smith Rowe may end up being a quality option but he’s not there yet …

  5. nwm says:

    Nkunku, he’s the right age (23) and can play anywhere in the attack. So he would allow Arteta to rotate the front line, as needed. He has also provided 11 goals 19 assists in 40 starts over two seasons at Leipzig.

  6. gotanidea says:

    I believe Arteta wants a left-footed AM to complement our right-footed AMs, hence the rumors about Odegaard as our number one priority. Having too many right-footed AMs like Maddison and Aouar will only limit our tactical options, because we’ve got plenty of that player type

    So we had better sign Martin Odegaard, Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar, Matheus Pereira, Lucas Paqueta, Nicolo Zaniolo or Antonin Barak. I know some of those players aren’t appealing because they are slow and they don’t produce many goals or assists, but they’re essential in making diagonal passes during an overloading situation

    1. Walidomy says:

      I think arsenal will sign Aouar at the end cos MA likes his technicality than others

      1. gotanidea says:

        I hope not, because we’ve got midfielders who can play his role

        1. Sylva says:

          GAI,
          Aouar is very skillful and can use two legs efficiently. Pls watch his games on YouTube. In the case that Arteta wants a right footed midfilder. Arteta seem not like above names you mentioned apart from Odegard. M not sure Arsenal is ready to cough out €40m for Odeagrd

  7. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    “I know some of those players aren’t appealing because they are slow and they don’t produce many goals or assists” Enough said…

    when you do your hourly Google search of left-footed midfielders, next time please add some more pertinent key words so that maybe you won’t have to make such a ridiculous disclaimer following your usual “throw names against a wall” approach to list-making…btw even Lemar wouldn’t have put himself on this list

    1. gotanidea says:

      As I said, they produce other things instead of goals and assists

      About Lemar, he’s finally replaced Saul Niguez at Atletico Madrid

      1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

        this is why you haven’t a clue…even though the more off than on again Lemar had his best season since arrive in Madrid, last year, it was still nothing spectacular(7/10 rating)…likewise it’s clear that not only has the relationship between the club and Saul become a little stale, the arrival of Llorente, form-wise, has played a far bigger part in Madrid’s decision to maybe part ways with their former everyday starter…furthermore, Saul makes 300K/week, whereas both Lemar and Llorente make considerably less, at 100 and 75K respectively, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why such an active transfer market club, might try to cut ties with a big contract after a very productive 7-8 year run… furthermore, Saul is a far more marketable and desired asset, which is why “big” clubs like ManU, Pool, Barca and Juve are sniffing around…currently Saul has twice the market value, as Lemar’s valuation has dipped from a high of 70M a few years back to around the 20+ range, which is incredibly problematic for a team with a fairly rigid business model, considering that they paid nearly 8 times the amount to secure Lemar’s services…not to mention their vastly differing injury history…I doubt you even watched a single La Liga
        match last season… stay in your lane

        1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

          arriving NOT arrive

  8. AFCam says:

    mads by a distance.
    refer to Jon Fox post , kind of covers it for me.
    not odegaard or anyone else who cant manage more than the PRE assist, so thumbs up to Nkunku on those above stats!

  9. Durand says:

    Was not impressed by Odegaard at all; thought ESR was superior as a 10.

    Odegaard had 2 good games, and shuffled ESR to the wing where he was less effective.

    Personally I’d start ESR and have Willock compete for the 10 and spend available funds for a partner for Parley.

    Likely Xhaka automatically starts with Partey, so I don’t expect any improvement in that area.

    1. guy says:

      Agree Durand. A decent forward looking CM is a higher priority than an out and out AM, as we have ESR and several others who can offer a similar service

    2. Declan says:

      We’ve recently signed a partner for Partey.

  10. Jasa says:

    To me, i will either go with Madison or Aouar and then Lautaro Martines. Odegard is ok but his stat during on loan not impressive enough

  11. RFrancis says:

    Not sure if the fanbase would be prepared to accept 8th position again….if we go for more young, unproven players with high growth potential. We have spent enough on young players IMO.
    The focus for the rest of the transfer period should be premier-league-ready players to make make a difference now. James Ward-Prowse, anyone?….to add a bit more steel and toughness to our midfield.

    1. guy says:

      Good shout RF!

  12. Bamn-Jah says:

    Personally I would like James Maddison , he’s the real deal and the only missing piece alongside Lautaro Martinez then bring in Ramsadale to add goalkeeping strength with Leno , then keep Xhaka he’s still worthy it in our midfield only that last season we were under a lot of pressure.Am an Ødegaard fan but he less effective than Maddison , sell Sead, Willian Lacca, loan Willock, Nelson.Also Niles must accept the Right back position not those try and errors in midfield no patience with him .

  13. Ozziegunner says:

    Why James Maddison at £70 million, when Arsenal could get Matheus Pereira or Aouar plus Bruno Guimaraes or Yves Bissoumao, with over £5-£10 million left over towards a RB or back up goal keeper? A combination of Pereira and Bissouma would cost about £70 million for two EPL proven players. Aouar and Guimaraes are a lower cost option, but with the increased risk of bringing both players from the French league.

    1. Patrick Hlalukana says:

      I really hope we can go for Yves Bissoumao to partner Partey and he can play Partey’s role when his not available like now his injured probably out for 6 weeks.

  14. Kelly G Nation says:

    Just close your eyes and buy Madison. Problem solved. Arsenal need a creative midfielder if our strikers will ever click again, and a goal scoring one will make a lot of sense should we experience again goal drought and lack of creativity this season as we suffered last season, then Madison is the answer.

  15. Son says:

    I would rather prefer we get Mathues Pereira, at 25yrs and with both EPL and Championship experience he fits the bill for an even better deal. He scores lots of goals, makes assists and can pick a pass, it’s a no brainer for me.

  16. Guy Storer says:

    Hi,

    This popped up on my newsfeed so thought I’d comment.

    I am a Leicester fan by the way, but have obviously been watching all the annual Transfer gossip throughout the pre-season.

    From our standpoint there will be no desire to sell any of our key players, as per ususal, of course this only ever changes when a player pushes for a move as has been the case with Chilwell, MGuire, Kante, Mahrez, etc…

    If we end up selling one of our players, for me it would be better for us to keep Tielemans and lose Maddison.

    As a fan who has seen a lot of Leicester and therefore Maddison over the past couple of seasons I will explain why.

    1. Maddison is injury prone, he has played for 2 seasons and I would estimate he has been fit and contributed in around half of the games over that time. Therefore we have managed to get 1 good full season out of him in terms of decent performances. I don’t mean the amount of games he has played, I mean the amount games where he has been fit, as he has played a lot of games where he is off the pace and has been carried. Tielemans is the far more consistent performer of the 2.

    2. Discipline. I don’t think this sits well with the Leicester hierarchy and he has been involved in 2 incidents which have reflected badly on him and in turn the ownership. Knowing the team at King Power, this is not the sort of thing they want associated with the club.

    3. Set pieces/dead ball – Maddison is a very talented player when he is fit and things are going well. There is no doubt of that and can be a joy to watch, but one mis-conception is that he is an expert dead ball specialist. Ask Leicester fans about this as from what we have seen in the past 2 years, his delivery has often been poor, we have rarely scored from set pieces, in fact I think we were the lowest in the league last year. He rarely scores from a direct free kick as well. Of course I hope it changes, but thus far it has been a lot more hype than substance.

    Obviously Leicester don’t need to sell or want to sell, but of course may do if the price is right, but the other thing to keep in mind, they also won’t sell unless they have a suitable replacement coming in as what’s the point, it would just deplete the squad and make them less competitive. There has been a lot of talk about Coutinho, but I think it is just noise.

    In summary, Madders is a very good footballer, but he comes with baggage, the price being banded around of £70M+ is overinflated of course, as we don’t need to sell but its also not good value for anyone to pay that.

    If Arsenal could get him for anything South of £50m in this modern crazy transfer fee climate, its worth a punt, and if you can get 3/4 a season out of him it would be a good deal.

    Anything above that for me is a risk, and if Leicester can get £70m for him and have a good replacement lined up, I think we should sell as it is great business for us.

    Good luck next year, you look to have made some good signings already, I like Arteta so it will be interesting to see what he can do with more of his players coming through the door.

    Cheers

    Guy

    1. Sue says:

      Thank you, Guy.. fantastic comment!
      Maddison is not on my wishlist and for 70m, yikes!! We could do an awful lot with that sort of money!

      Good luck for the upcoming season. Daka up and running already…he sure is fast 👍

      1. Skills1000 says:

        Arsenal should offer Lacazette a 2 year deal.
        We should buy Aouar and Bernard Silva. The 2 players will cost 75m pounds.

        That is value for money rather than 70m pounds on Maddisson

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      Likewise, thanks Guy, because you confirm my concern regarding his injury record. Arsenal has enough players who keep the treatment room busy. Also if he comes to London on more money, there will be more opportunities to be a “bad boy”.

    3. Grandad says:

      Thanks for that Guy.Could we have Tielemans please?I am sure Leicester under their shrewd Manager will have another good season.Of the players discussed in the article Vlasic is the only one I have seen, and he impressed me.

      1. Guy Storer says:

        Hi Grandad,

        I’d be gutted if we lost Tielemans so hopefully not:).

        I actually like James Ward Prowse, he is a proper dead ball specialist, not sure he is exactly what Arsenal are looking for but better value.

        Bernardo Silva is also not a bad shout, if City would let him go, obviously based on the Grealish deal.

        Hopefully we can have another good season, Daka will be interesting, but I expect it to be tougher for sure.

        Arsenal will be a lot more competitve around that Top 6/4 race, and I expect Villa and Leeds to improve.

        If Spurs lose Kane and with the change of management, I expect them to be the weak link. I am not sure Nuno will play the football their fans want to see, so that will be an interesting one.

        If we can make Top 6 again for a 3rd consecutive season it would be a great achievement when you add the 2 major trophies we have won in recent times given where we have come from but for sure it will be very difficult for us this year.

        Who knows we may actually get to the Stadiums this season and actually see some football which would be great for everyone.

        Cheers

        Guy

        1. A J says:

          Hi Guy.

          Thanks for coming on with your very interesting comments.

          I was drawn to your Arteta mention.

          Although I would imagine most Gooners are behind the man going into the new season, there remains a certain underlying toxicity that wants MA to fail – which of course by association means the team.

          It often seems, looking at the bigger picture, our manager is more appreciated outside than in.

          All the best for the new season – just don’t finish above us 😉

          Take care.

  17. Sid says:

    Some good options. You left out Perreira who I thought had a great season, is fast, and is left-footed as GAI likes them lol (just a little joke bro. I get about the tactical versatility that you speak of using left footers). And he would be cheaper too.
    OT- anyone know the timing of the mind series game? Would like to watch it if time permits..

    1. Sue says:

      Arsenal women 12.15pm
      Arsenal v Chelsea 3pm COYG!!

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Sue, commiserations. Olympic Games women’s football quarter final:
        Australia 🇦🇺 4 (2) defeated Great Britain 🇬🇧 3 (2) after extra time.
        Samantha Kerr the Chelsea striker scored 2 for Oz and Manchester City’s Ellen White scored a hat trick for GB.

        1. Sue says:

          Was a fantastic game, Ozzie! Thought you’d like it 😉 Good luck!

      2. Sid says:

        Ohh. Thanks for the info Sue! Sadly wont be able to watch at those times due to work, but will follow the score. Stay safe and I hope you get to cheer for the team in the stadiums.
        COYG!

        1. Sue says:

          What a shame, Sid. Hopefully you’ll catch next week’s game against the Spuds!
          Cheers Sid, you stay safe too 🙂

  18. Dapo says:

    Why is no one talking about Damsgaard! Kid looks exciting and dangerous, like a really young action packed KDB.

  19. Kit says:

    Why are people so amazed by Maddison? Are his stats that amazing? I mean last season in 31 games he managed 8 goals which i guess is coolio but only 5 assists. How is that even impressiv? We need someone who will feed our strikers.

  20. asiru raheem says:

    Maddison is good but I will like arsenal to avoid overpaying for him, instead we can go for OLMO. He is good, technical, have eye for goal and energetic. If we can’t get him, we can as well look inward for Ward prowse from Southampton. With prouse, goals from set-piece is guaranteed.

    1. Noony says:

      If Arsenal are prepared to pay £50m for Ben
      White then surely Maddison is worth 70m! A number of comments say it is an inflated price but he is worth way more than White in terms of what he would bring.
      Personally I don’t see him moving this summer.

  21. Jakes Mradu says:

    John Eaton
    , Been playing since 5 and managing since 21
    Updated March 29

    I feel obliged to comment on this. The scenario you brought up really only happen if you are a “winger” who cuts inside who supports the midfield and provide another goalscoring threat. These wingers are called “inverted wingers” and are usually the opposite foot to the flank they play on.

    However the other kind of winger – “the crosser” is usually the winger who likes to cross the ball into the box and stay wide. In which case you’ll find right footers being right wingers and left footers being left wingers. This style has gotten increasingly rarer since the start of the millenium as a result of the changing tide of football.
    I copied and pasted………any foot goes for me………….so long the player has good stats and can play in the epl………….)

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      Although all players have a predominant foot, to play at the top level you would expect a player to be good with both feet.

  22. Joel says:

    I personally think Arsenal should go for Mad. We need a statement signing. Maddison thick all the boxes for me. He doesn’t need to adapt to anything, he will hit the ground running. Arsenal
    fans need not to worry about his sign on fee.If we’re really serious about top 4 then we should be signing these kinds of players. Here is my Arsenal IX: Leno
    Dumfries
    White
    Mari/Gabriel*
    Tierrney
    Party
    Locatteli/Xhaka*
    Pepe
    Maddison
    Saka/Smith Rowe*
    Martinez

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      Joel, his injury record should be a concern, given his price.

  23. 03 gooner says:

    Bernardo Silva would be the perfect signing imo, very creative with good passing and ball carrying ability, can score as well and is a multiple premier league winner. With Grealish going to city I think he will become available and with arteta’s relationship with the club and pep in particular I think we could get him for a reasonable price, certainly less than Leicester will ask for maddison. If you then add Johnstone(gk) 3 Aarons(rb) Guimaraes(dm) Martinez(St) you’re looking at a top 4 challenge minimum.

    Leno/Johnstone
    Aarons/chambers White/Holding Gabriel/Mari Tierney/Tavares
    Guimaraes/Elneny Partey/Lokonga
    Pepe/Saka Silva/SmithRowe Martinelli/Balogun
    Auba/Martinez

  24. Sean Williams says:

    I do like Maddison, I think he is a top player, but if Aoaur and Pereira are under half Maddison’s price they may represent better value and are young enough to improve. Also that would leave us able to make an offer for Max Aarons, such a positive full back. We are not strong at RB at all.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      👍

  25. VasC says:

    Until the day our management bring some 50+ millions into our summer transfer kitty through player sales, I’ll stick with Laca as our back-up / competition to ESR. As commented earlier in other posts, Laca is better at playing a second striker that being a lone CF in our ultra defensive set-up. He’s not prolific. But, he always keeps the team ticking with his on and off the ball movements. No player during his 4 years at Arsenal has consistently displayed more hunger / energy than Laca on the pitch, except Tierney. Off the pitch, he is well respected and loved by everyone at the club. It’s better to retain his services for one more season and letting him leave on free next summer than losing him for peanuts this summer.

  26. Trent Madagua says:

    There’s a reason the gaffer wants Martin. I believe Martin is just the right kind of creative midfielder we need.
    I smile when folks say he had only two good games. I wonder how many “good” games the team had in total all season.
    I think Madison’s good but “The Smith” is better, younger,faster almost similar. I watch Martin at Sociedad. He’s the reason am still a fan of the La Liga side.
    I hope we can get him in. Martin Ødegaard is one of those rare class footballers that truly suit the Arsenal way of football.

    1. Reggie says:

      What is the Arsenal way? Because if it is the way we have been playing under Arteta and the way Odergaard played, then no thank you!

  27. jp23 says:

    Wirtz would be an amazing signing. Leverkusen are supposedly interested in Nketiah. We could try a player swap + cash for Wirtz.

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