David Ornstein pinpoints Arsenal’s perfect Spanish international replacement for Granit Xhaka

Following the reportedly imminent Ricardo Calafiori deal, Arsenal is now eyeing a central midfielder, and there’s a possibility that Mikel Merino could be the next player to join.

Apparently, head coach Mikel Arteta really values Mikel Merino’s talent and strong fitness background.

Certainly, Merino is a one-of-a-kind player for our midfield. He could easily play the same role as Xhaka did, but with improved defensive skills, superior aerial dominance, and the ability to deliver precise, clipped passes.

The Spaniard, a duel monster, stood out among players in Europe’s top seven leagues during the 2023–24 season. He impressively won over 300 duels, with an average of 5.94 aerial duels won per 90 minutes and contesting 9.78 aerial duels per 90 minutes. Analysts view his brief stint in the Premier League with Newcastle as a significant advantage.

Even though he is already 28, his age goes against Arsenal’s preference for signing young, quality forwards. However, Arteta views the Spaniard as a valuable addition to Arsenal’s youthful squad, bringing much-needed experience to the team. Arteta hopes that he can have a similar impact on the team as Leandro Trossard and Jorginho.

Reputable journalist David Ornstein is suggesting that we should be looking at Merino as the first-choice option in our midfield search.

Hopefully, his deal goes through; his £25 million won’t dent Arsenal’s transfer budget; in fact, it leaves room for other deals.

Daniel O


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  1. He will be very good for Arsenal. Once this EUROS ends, Arteta and Edu should act fast and Bring Merino to the Emirates. He is tailored made for us, strong, very technical with very good aerial abilities.

    1. About 2 weeks ago I highlighted the talent of Merino as a quality replacement for Xhaka so I am pleased to learn that he may be a potential recruit for Arsenal.Merino has certainly performed well for Spain and were it not for the fact that he is in direct competition with the highly impressive Fabian Ruiz who is also 28, he would have established himself on the international scene.What would Southgate give to have two left footed central midfielder of the calibre of Merino and Ruiz to bring real balance to the England side.In any event I sincerely hope Arsenal,s interest in Merino is genuine as I can see Rice and the Spaniard forming a formidable , balanced pairing next season.

  2. He’s good, but currently just another name to add to the ever-growing list of players “linked” to Arsenal in this transfer window.

    I’m not quite sure I agree with David about the amount of room in the Arsenal transfer budget though. If the Calafiori deal goes through as expected, then Arsenal will have already spent over £70m this summer (with the £27m on Raya earlier). Getting Merino pushes that over £100m – but with, so far, not a single £1 back yet in player sales – and we haven’t mentioned the urgent need for a CF.

    Arsenal will have made money from their CL campaign last season but nowhere near enough to cover the kind of spending that they may well have in this window. They need to start selling now (something that Arsenal have been very bad at for some time).

    1. But not every Arsenal fan thinks the need for a centre forward is “urgent” and personally I am pleased that Arteta is in the process of prioritising a left footed LB/LCB.

    2. “Urgent need for a CF”
      That’s your opinion and not an actual fact.
      Our left sided dynamic is the priority. Not every problem in a squad is fixed by getting a top CF. The problems we had last season was not less goals. They were our LBs, and CDM. That’s where we lost the season. Attack wasn’t a problem, but as always, just as every child who loves playing cricket always wishes to be a Batsman than a bowler, every child’s first football dream is to be a striker and score goals.
      Strikers are less and less valuable in the current football actually, and usually they are bought with a certain strategy in mind. Haaland, isn’t a good footballer enough to be influential in every match he plays. He is there to farm goals from teams with weaker defenses and increase the goal tally for the team and Goal differences. But Defense always has to be influential in every match so to me is a much more important part of the team than strikers. And if a team has weak defense as well as offense, it should start with making the defense stronger before looking at the offense. And it’s even more true in modern football where playing from the back is the norm now, so every attacking move depends on how good the defensive players are with ball. So bolstering defense is actually bolstering the attacking output of the team.

      1. May I congratulate you for your wise words Daulat.You obviously have a real understanding of why we did not pip Man City last season and the need for us to bring about a more balanced unit by strengthening at LB and LCD.Let’s hope we can recruit quality players to resolve our weaknesses in these areas before we contemplate forward additions.

  3. Waste of time pls. MA cant even utilize the players he’s got on bench, u want him to keep buying players…still the same first 11 he will trust

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