The Arsenal Midfield Conundrum: The Quest for a Declan Rice Alternative
Plotting the Path Beyond Rice
As summer rolls in, Arsenal finds itself embroiled in a spirited tug-of-war for West Ham’s captain, Declan Rice. It’s no secret the North London club has a keen interest in the England international. A concrete £90m offer appears to be in the offing, but it may fall short of West Ham’s lofty demands. The East Londoners reportedly envisage Manchester United as more likely to satisfy their price tag.
However, Arsenal remains hopeful that Rice’s preference to stay in the capital might tip the scales in their favour. Yet, in the realm of football transfers, nothing is certain. Hence, contingency plans are essential.
Arsenal’s shortlist has three primary alternatives if they fail to land Rice: Martin Zubimendi from Real Sociedad, Ruben Neves of Wolves, and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
The Gunners’ interest in Zubimendi is ongoing, having initiated discussions with the player last January. Despite Arsenal being ready to meet his £53m release clause, the Spanish midfielder chose to stay with a flourishing Sociedad team. Intriguingly, Barcelona’s Xavi has also been vocal in his admiration of the 24-year-old, adding an interesting twist to his future prospects.
Wolves’ Ruben Neves is another viable option. However, with a £45m price tag and a craving for Champions League action, the Gunners might have to step up their game to secure his services.
Brighton’s Caicedo rounds up Arsenal’s trio of alternatives. The Gunners have already tested the waters with a failed £70m bid in January. Arsenal’s persistence may well be the key in reviving this possibility.
A Balanced Midfield: Creative Support for Odegaard
In addition to strengthening their defensive midfield, the Gunners also seek a creative force to complement captain Martin Odegaard. To this end, Arsenal has reportedly opened talks with representatives of Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Chelsea’s Mason Mount. Barcelona’s interest in Gundogan adds another layer of intrigue, though Pep Guardiola is intent on keeping him at City.
Restructuring the Arsenal Midfield: Departures on the Horizon
Granit Xhaka’s impending move to Bayer Leverkusen paves the way for more midfield restructuring. Albert Sambi Lokonga could also be on his way out, with Burnley expressing interest, and Sevilla, fresh from their Europa League final, potentially making an offer. His attributes have even drawn comparisons with Yaya Toure from Vincent Kompany, adding to his increasing appeal.
Arsenal’s midfield puzzle continues to take shape this summer. Whether it’s Declan Rice, Martin Zubimendi, Ruben Neves or Moises Caicedo who ultimately fits the piece, the Gunners’ strategy will undoubtedly set the tone for their upcoming campaign.