Arsenal’s hierarchy want to support Mikel Arteta in the January transfer window and will commit funds to help him sign a creative attack-minded midfielder to help the manager’s goal-shy team
The ailing Gunners have lost eight of their 14 Premier League matches this season to sit on just 14 points and trail league leaders Liverpool by 17 points, with a 12-point gap to fourth-placed Everton.
The Toffees beat Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park on Sunday with Nicolas Pepe scoring the goal for the visitors from the penalty spot.
Arsenal’s dire form has seen them score just one open play goal in their last 10 Premier League games and they have only scored 12 times overall, while conceding 18 times.
Such struggles have seen Arteta understandably come under significant pressure given that Arsenal fared much better under the Spaniard last term and won the FA Cup.
Mesut Ozil is not in Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad and his absence has seen Arteta widely criticised given the north London club’s inability to create goalscoring opportunities.
Only West Brom and Sheffield United, both in the relegation zone, have had less key passes per match than Arsenal, who are also 18th of the 20 English top-flight teams in terms of shots attempted per game, with five less per 90 than Liverpool.
But the Daily Mail say Arsenal will back Arteta in January as they seek to arrest the club’s alarming slide.
Arsenal signed six new players in the summer with defensive midfielder Thomas Partey the most expensive of the lot at £45million though the Ghanaian has struggled with injuries at the Emirates.
Centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes has shone since joining from Lille for around £22million while fellow defender Pablo Mari’s loan move was also made permanent at the cost of around £14m.
Back-up goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson was a low-cost replacement for Emiliano Martinez, now at Aston Villa, and Cedric Soares and Willian were signed on free transfers although the latter has attracted criticism for several poor performances.
Arsenal had also wanted a creative midfielder and their lack of key passes and shots shows they are missing an influential playmaker in the mould of a Jack Grealish, Bruno Fernandes or Kevin De Bruyne to drive the team forward.
Lyon’s Houssem Aouar is a long-term Arsenal target and was the subject of bids in the summer but it remains to be seen if the Londoners go back in for the Frenchman given his £50m-plus price tag.
Another rumoured target, Dominik Szoboszlai, will meanwhile join RB Leipzig from sister club Red Bull Salzburg.
The 20-year-old Hungarian No 10 was linked to the Gunners having shone in Austria but will move to Germany rather than England after signing a five-year deal to link up with Leipzig.
Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu is another player who has previously been linked with Arsenal but the teenage Dutchman signed a new five-year contract extension only in June.
Arteta is therefore likely to have explore other options although 22-year-old Aouar would surely be Arsenal’s top target if their January budget allowed.
Aouar recently said on his future: “Honestly, I am not looking at the transfer window. I am here, I try to improve on a personal level, I will try to have the best of seasons.
“We don’t know what could happen tomorrow, but I’m very motivated to bring the most to the team.”
It is not clear how much Arteta will have to spend in the winter window but given the Arsenal hierarchy’s commitment to the manager, supporters will hope his purse is substantial enough to see some real improvement in the team