Arsenal are preparing for wholesale changes to their midfield department in 2024 with manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu planning to move on three unwanted stars and signing at least three from four new players to replace them as partners for Declan Rice.
The Gunners have made huge progress under the two masterminds, with Arsenal pushing Manchester City close to Premier League title glory last season before Pep Guardiola’s unrelentless machine ultimately powered past them.
But having overseen a £200m summer investment, including the club-record capture of Rice from West Ham for £105m, Arteta’s side are once again expected to compete for glory this time around. Having lost just once in the Premier League so far, they went into the recent international break sat third, level on points with Liverpool but a point adrift of City.
However, despite making some sizeable signings over the summer, Arsenal’s squad still has some obvious holes and weaknesses.
To that end, several pundits and fans alike have questioned the Gunners’ lack of a 25-goal-a-season striker with neither Eddie Nketiah or Gabriel Jesus seen as quite prolific enough.
As a result, Arsenal are being linked with the likes of Dusan Vlahovic and Ivan Toney, though on Wednesday reports in Italy claimed a teenage Brazilian striker was also on Edu’s radar.
However, signing a new attacker does not appear to be Edu and Arteta’s No 1 priority heading into the 2024 transfer windows.
That’s because further midfield reinforcements are now viewed as their top aim, with doubts emerging over the futures of Thomas Partey,Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny.
The latter two see their deals expire in summer 2024 and renewals for either appear unlikely,
Arsenal targeting four midfield signings
Jorginho’s agent has already made clear that, while his client is happy to stay at Arsenal, the fact they are yet to initiate talks over an extension, means a return to Serie A for his client at the end of the season now looks likely.
Elneny meanwhile, has fought his way back to fitness but does not figure in Arteta’s plans. And we exclusively revealed, the Egyptian could seal a lucrative move to the Saudi Pro League in January ahead of his deal expiring next summer.
Partey is also the subject of overseas interest, and his struggles for form and fitness this season, will likely also lead to the departure of the popular Ghanaian. Juventus are among
Always looking to be proactive, however, the Gunners are already hot on the trail of would-be successors and upgrades to the trio as they look to rebuild their midfield.
Top of their shopping list is Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, who has been in imperious form for Unai Emery’s side this season. Prising the Brazilian away from Villa will be no easy feat, given his importance to their side and the fact his deal is not due to expire until 2026.
First linked with Arsenal back in summer 2022, he remains a strong fancy of Arteta’s who is ready to prioritise a 2024 swoop for the 25-year-old. Any push for his signing is likely to wait until the summer, given Villa’s likely demand for a £75m-plus fee.
Per the Sky blast TV, Arsenal are also ready to make a push to sign Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi, who is now regarded as the one of, if not the, best defensive midfielders in LaLiga.
With a €60m (£53m) release clause, Arsenal at least know what it would cost to prise the 24-year-old to North London.
Gunners also want to sign teenage midfield duo
It’s not just ready-made signings Arsenal want either, with the Gunners also looking to buy two of the best teenage midfield prospects in the world game too.
The Belgian is being tracked by the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton, but the Gunners are looking to push their way to the front of the queue having already registered their interest with the Jupiler Pro League champions.
The Gunners are also ready to turn to Brazil too – a market that has served them well in recent times – to bring in talented Corithians star Gabriel Moscardo.
The 18-year-old was the subject of an approach from Chelsea over the summer, while Liverpool have also deployed scouts to check on him in recent weeks.
However, it’s claimed Arsenal could look to beat them all to his signing by meeting the sizeable €50m (£43m) release clause in his contract.
As it stands, the Gunners could look to sign both Vermeeren and Moscardo in January if they can negotiate deals. To that end, Arsenal will reportedly try and secure the latter for a little less than his current release clause.
Either way, the Arsenal midfield which takes to the field in their return to Premier League action at Brentford on Saturday could look very different come the start of the 2024/25 season.