The rising threat of COVID-19 might have paused the action on field but the one thing the virus could not control is the massive influx of transfer speculations. With Mikel Arteta among the many high-profile names affected by the pandemic, the Arsenal gaffer would have definitely used the free time off the pitch to prepare his team for the upcoming season.
With many big names linked to the club, here is a list of players who might join the Gunners ahead of the 2020-2021 Premier League season, whenever the English FA deem it fit to continue.
Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid – on loan at Arsenal)
When the Spanish coach first joined Arsenal, he made his wishes to the players quite clear, and the axing of underperformers like Alexandre Lacazette is testament to this. One other such player was Dani Ceballos, who has now fought his way back into the first team.
Before the league was suspended, Ceballos had established himself as a key figure in the Arsenal central midfield alongside Granit Xhaka. He featured in all of their fixtures since starting in the 4-0 win over Newcastle United. With links of star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Ceballos’ parent club Real Madrid ripe, reports suggest Raul Sanllehi might use the holding midfielder as a makeweight in the player-plus-cash deal, especially if Ceballos continues to impress once the league resumes, a deal slightly acceptable by the Arsenal faithful, if they were to lose their talisman.
Pablo Mari (Flamengo – on loan at Arsenal)
The decision to sign Pablo Mari might be very premature but having featured in both of Arsenal’s last two matches, first against the FA Cup fixture against Leeds United and then the win over West Ham United before the suspension of the league.
A FIFA Club World Cup finalist with Brazilian side Flamengo, the left-footed sweeper might be a worthy addition if he gets to prove his mettle when the season resumes. The former Manchester City defender will be looking to impress his manager and the Gooners alike, having helped his team’s defence keep consecutive clean sheets, a rare feat for the Arsenal team in recent years.
With Arsenal chasing other defensive targets as well, the resumption of the league will be key in ensuring that the Spaniard can do enough to finally play in the Premier League.
Axel Disasi (Stade Reims)
Chasing more expensive targets like Dayot Upamecano might be a far possibility if the season ends prematurely, turning the Arsenal eyes to former target Alex Disasi, valued at 15 million euros.
Alongside veteran Yunis Abdelhamid, Disasi is at the heart of Ligue A’s best defence. If the Gunners move for the defender, he will join the likes of William Saliba, on loan at Saint-Etienne at the heart of the Arsenal defence, hopefully for years to come.
The 22-year-old Frenchmen will also prove to be a much cheaper option for the Gunners, with the stock of Dayot likely to rise after interest of bigger European clubs have been piqued.
Luka Jovic (Real Madrid)
The chances of the young Serbian are high after both club and player reiterated their intention of retaining the player for the upcoming season. However, if Los Blancos managed to prise away Aubameyang from the club, Jovic might join on loan, with the hope of reigniting his career.
The 22-year-old forward has a bright future ahead but has seemingly found his career at a point of stagnation since joining Madrid and the beginning of the 2019-20 season. At the back of the stunning campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt, where he scored 17 goals in 32 games, as well as 10 goals in the Europa league, the forward has managed only two goals in 15 La Liga games, while yet to score in the Champions League.
The move to Arsenal might be a step down at this stage, but it might be the spark required to reignite his career.
Moreno Rodrigo (Valencia)
At the age of 29, Rodrigo is among the more experienced forwards to have graced the La Liga, fighting off temptation from the top three of the Spanish game. His loyalty towards Valencia, with whom he has spent the last six seasons, might prompt him to seek new pastures in other European leagues.
Arsenal might take advantage of this fact, having enquired about the player in recent reports. Valued at 50 million euros, the Spanish international has scored 57 goals in 214 games for Valencia, as well as chalking up 41 assists.
He is a speedy attacker who might prove to be a like-for-like replacement for Aubameyang, with his goals as well as assist ratio proving important in the decision to acquire the player.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Bertrand Guay