Arsenal Top Three midfield targets – Which would you choose?

Midfield the key by Peter Doherty

The dust is settled and the die is cast. We are in the Europa League. An outcome that would have pleased us greatly after the first three games of the season, but one that ultimately left a bitter taste in the mouth because of the manner of our capitulation against Spurs and Newcastle. But, it is what is.

Now the transfer window will be upon us and it is vital Arsenal get their purchases right this summer. A lot of the focus has been on the need for a strike force and that is a very legitimate concern. However, the need for strength in depth in the midfield area should be given equal importance. If we look at the successful models that we aspire to emulate in Man City and Liverpool the strikers are not the pivotal positions. Jesus and Firmino are the outright strikers in these clubs, and no disrespect to either player they weren’t the difference makers.

Salah, Mahrez, Mane, and Diaz, are wingers and in fairness that is a position that we are able to boast young ever improving talent in Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe and the possible re-integration of Nelson.

De Bruyne, Fabinho, Thiago, Gundogan, Kieta, Foden and Silva are the players who frequently change the course of vital games by dictating the play. These players highlight why the midfield area is key to a successful team.

Arsenal is currently in need of both defensive and attacking midfield options. With the huge amount of money awash in the Premier League it is also important that we get the depth by buying astutely. Even with Elneny’s recent contract extension it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that we need to purchase three midfielders in order to upgrade and provide competition. As the top two have demonstrated it is is vital to be able to replace a midfielder without having a noticeable drop in quality. Here are three midfielders I would propose that would fit the current needs of our club as well as our budget.

1. Sander Berge.
This is a player that we have been linked with in the past but the price quoted at the time was an exorbitant 30-40 million. A season in the Championship has brought that value down to the 15-20 million mark. It is no coincidence that Sheffield United had a poor start to the season when Berge was injured. And that their upturn in form coincided with his return. Mainly functioning as a defensive midfielder he has added goals and assists to his game since his return as well. If Arsenal pursue him this summer, then you can be assured that Albert Stuivenberg had a major input as he used to manage Berge at Genk and spoke highly of him back then.

2. Gini Wijnaldum:
This former mainstay of Liverpool and Newcastle’s midfield has a wealth of Premier League experience. His free transfer to PSG has not gone as planned as he struggles for first team minutes in France. A loan deal or even a cheap transfer wouldn’t be too difficult to engineer as the player will be keen to be playing first team football in order to maintain his Netherlands place in a weird World Cup year.

3. Youri Tielemans:
He has been widely touted as a target and for me it’s a no brainer, especially if the sum of 25 million is accurate. He’s a quality operator and has a lot of experience for a 24 year old. He already takes responsibility in games and that will only develop as he matures. He has vision and aggression, two characteristics that we need in midfield.

I’d be interested to hear other Gunners selections of potential incoming three midfielders, allowing yourself a budget of 50-60 million.

Peter Doherty

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Tags sander berge Wijnaldum Youri Tielemans


  1. We need two. we only have two good midfielders (Partey, Odde), one is injury prone, the other can’t handale physicality. so if we what to have 3 good midfielders every game and guarentee at least 2, we need to add 2 top targets. Tielemans+experienced player (Wijnaldum, Gondugan, Casemiro) would be fantastic.

  2. All three midfielders could help us very well.

    Whatever we do a minimum of two additional midfielders should be our targets, I like Sander Berge who knows Odegaard well and link up play could be excellent.

    In choosing our midfielders one should be at least very mobile.

  3. Frekei Dejong and Reuben Neves
    or Wijnaldum would be excellent and not Tielemans and co mentioned

    1. These would be amazing but quoted at 80 and 70 million respectively. Out of our price bracket I’d say

  4. I agree with your observation on how Man City/ Liverpool use their wingers as their main goal-scorers and their CFs as their pivots/ CAMs. Real Madrid and France also use Benzema like that, but Benzema is also a clinical finisher

    I also like your choices:

    – Sander Berge : I could imagine him as our CDM and connecting well with his compatriot at Arsenal, while allowing Partey to dribble through the left side of the midfield. He will also be dangerous in attacking set-pieces

    – Gini Wijnaldum : He could share some of Klopp’s methods to Arteta and his experience to our young CMs. He has proven to be a great CM at Liverpool and possesses great ball control, despite being old

    – Youri Tielemans : He could replace Xhaka, but I’d prefer the other options as Partey and him are sloppy sometimes

    I don’t think we’d buy a new central midfielder though, unless Xhaka, Maitland-Niles and Torreira leave. Because we still need to give the chances to our talented young CMs, namely Smith-Rowe, Lokonga, Azeez, Patino, Hutchinson, Flores and Akinola

    1. Our CM is atrocious and our biggest issue going forward.

      Berge- good player would walk straight in ahead of Xhaka

      Xhaka MLN and torreira I believe will all go

      Smith-Rowe will stay so will Lokonga and patino rest maybe loaned out

        1. I also like McGinn and I believe he’d connect well with Tierney on the left wing. The problems are his age and his long-term contract with Villa

          1. After that it would be Douglas Luiz as we missed a massive trick by not trying for Kamara

            1. Douglas Luiz would be a good option too. He could be our CDM and allow Partey to express his creativity

  5. Sander Berge, Reuben Neves or Wijnaldum will be added steel and experience. Like JKlopp and Guadiola, I just hope Arteta knows and get the right players who could be game changers for Arsenal.

    1. One reason why I wouldn’t want Bissouma, when next the ACoN roles around, you would lose half your midfielders to it. It’s just better in my opinion to eliminate that possibility.

  6. Uh…. forgot about berge mate thats genius… we need dependable 6 for 433 we got half a Partey ..great when u got it … Lokonga reminds me of a young Xabi Alonso … and is too young… mentally, but can’t I wait for the penny to drop, lol play Elneny as a 6 and we wouldn’t get out of our own box for sideways passes, xhaka too slow but berge is built for that $#!? Aint he like 9ft as well 🙂 …I was thinking Zakkaria but at that price Berge wins

  7. I’d pick tielemans and berger/danilo after sending lokonga on a season long loan.then we will have partey,xhaka,elneny,tielemans(if we play 4-3-3) and berger/danilo.

  8. For me simply sign Y. Tielemans on a cut-price deal given 1 year remaining. A midfield 3 of Partey being anchor, Tielemans acting as a box-to-box mobile 8, and Odegaard as a creative dictator of play would be extremely competitive. Xhaka as and back-up option as well as Elneny who can do the basics if injuries overtake would be a solid midfield to take into next season. The full back situation is the most worrying one, with Tierney basically useless half a season every season with injuries and Tomiyasu who is more suited to versatile cover work, we need a good left-back and good right-back. Based on what I’ve read on him, Hickey would cover both of the purposes. Obviously being short up-front is a problem, but there’s a host of names, they just need to nail 2 of them.

  9. Tielemans for me. Combines technique and physicality, the latter of which we lack if Partey is out. Also, Ben White may be a good option for the single-pivot with Saliba and Gabriel sitting behind. Being thin in that position was one of the main reasons we fell apart at the end imo

    1. And if we could add a high-quality striker and a goal-scoring winger (with perhaps another option in both full back positions a la Hickey), I think that would represent a fantastic window. I’m dreaming of Gnabry…

  10. To me, the top 3 midfield targets in order would be:
    Douglas Louis

  11. I’d be surprised by Tielemans as he has already said that he wants to quit Leicester for champions league football?

    But I suppose money talks…

  12. Uh…. forgot about berge mate thats genius… we need dependable 6 for 433 we got half a Partey ..great when u got it … Lokonga reminds me of a young Xabi Alonso … and is too young… mentally, but can’t I wait for the penny to drop, lol play Elneny as a 6 and we wouldn’t get out of our own box for sideways passes, xhaka too slow but berge is built for that… Aint he like 9ft as well 🙂 …I was thinking Zakkaria but at that price Berge wins, if we get a sound 6 like him I’d like to see what øde and esr would be like as 8’s

  13. All the three players mentioned are great. I will add Tielemans with Gundogan & Neves. They have great Prem experience and will add quality to the midfield.

  14. I’d love to get Norgaard & Tielemans. I have to say; I don’t really fancy Youri but everyone seems to like him. So maybe he is good but if we ain’t getting any of the two I mentioned please let’s just get Bissouma. He has everything!

  15. Am settling for Yves Bissouma’. Him and Partey would be awesome together. Add Tieleman, that’ll be great.

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