This January, the Arsenal midfield has been the victim of African Cup of Nations participation, suspensions, Covid-19 and naive transfer decisions, and two competition exits can be attributed to the position’s thinness.
Arsenal lost Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to the AFCON, Granit Xhaka tested positive for Covid, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles was allowed to leave on loan for Roma despite the lack of available players.
Xhaka and Partey were also sent off in the first and second legs of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final defeat.
Arsenal have gone the entire month without a win and will not play again until February 10th, when all of the aforementioned players, with the exception of Maitland-Niles, will have returned.
However, the club has been linked with a number of midfield options, including Juventus’ Arthur Melo.
According to The Athletic, Edu presented an agreed 18-month loan proposal with a €40 million buy option, which the Arsenal hierarchy was not keen on, causing the deal to stall.
The Gunners were also linked with Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes, but Newcastle United are the current favourites to sign the Brazilian, much to the chagrin of many Arsenal fans.
According to the Evening Standard., the latest player linked with a move is Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz. His future at Villa Park is uncertain with only 18 months left on his contract.
According to John Percy of The Telegraph, interest from other clubs, including a rejected £30 million bid from Arsenal, has prompted them to open contract talks with the midfielder in order to keep him.
Having said that, Villa are in talks with Juventus about signing Rodrigo Bentancur, a suitable replacement.
Should Arsenal offer the player a deal that would entice him away from Birmingham, it would continue Arteta’s trend of signing premium Premier League talent at a younger age than is customary in the league.
Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White arrived for a combined fee of around £74 million and have both established themselves as first-team regulars.
Ramsdale deposed Bernd Leno as number one in a matter of weeks, and White has easily surpassed Rob Holding as the starting right center-half. He has also filled in at right back for Norwich City and Burnley.
Adding Luiz to the group would be another step in the same direction. It would, however, be a step up given Aston Villa’s intention to close the gap with Arsenal in the near future.
The Villans beat Arsenal to the signing of Emi Buendia in the summer, and they also had several bids turned down for Emile Smith-Rowe before he renewed his contract with Arsenal.
There is growing rivalry between the two sides, particularly among their supporters on social media. Taking Luiz away will be difficult, but if Edu can sell the player to the Arsenal project, it will be a major win for the north London club and a major setback for Villa’s ambitions.