There is no secret that Arsenal currently have a creativity problem. After all, the Gunners have only managed 10 goals and 65 key passes in Premier League play so far this season (both rank 17th). With a star striker like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the team, there is really no excuse not to be scoring a sufficient amount of goals each week. As the January transfer window approaches, let’s take a look at a few players that manager Mikel Arteta could, or perhaps should, go after next month to help add some firepower to his squad.
Undoubtedly Arsenal’s premier target in the near future, the young midfielder is a star in the making. Just 20, the senior Hungary international can both provide assists and goals from midfield, exactly what this Gunners team desperately needs. In fact, Szoboszlai already has eight goals and five assists so far this season in just 16 combined matches in domestic and Champions League play. Arsenal have seen their goals/assists tally from midfielders dwindle in recent years and Szoboszlai would surely help in these departments.
Arsenal, however, are certainly not the only club interested in Szoboszlai. AC Milan, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid, and RB Leipzig have all reportedly been linked with the playmaker in recent weeks. Arteta and company will have to do their best recruiting to pry Szoboszlai away from these other top teams, especially his current team’s sister club RB Leipzig.
Nkunku was previously linked with Arsenal during Unai Emery’s tempestuous time with the north London club. While the Spaniard’s 18 months with the Gunners didn’t exactly go as planned, the head coach was spot on with his evaluation of Nkunku. The versatile midfielder has been brilliant since his switch from PSG to Leipzig in the summer of 2019.
In the current campaign, Nkunku leads all Bundesliga players in shot-creating actions (6.9 per 90 minutes) and is second in key passes (3.9 per 90 minutes). Creativity and slick passing are the young Frenchman’s best attributes. If the Gunners miss out on the Szoboszlai sweepstakes, Nkunku could be their best alternative.
Current teammates with Nkunku at Leipzig, Olmo could end up costing the most money of the players on this list. Highly-rated and certainly talented, the former Barcelona youth prospect made the switch from Dinamo Zagreb to the German club back in January for around $23 million. The 22-year-old attacker can play either in the number 10 role or out on the flanks.
Olmo currently ranks first among Bundesliga players in goal-creating actions (1.7 per 90 minutes), second in shot-creating actions (6.0 per 90 minutes), and third in total assists (4). Although the Spain international will most likely receive attention from clubs all over Europe, a move back to Barca could eventually be the most likely scenario for Olmo.
Arsenal have also reportedly been interested in Buendia for some time as well. Although relegated with Norwich at the end of the 2019/20 season, Buendia was hardly the one to blame. The playmaker had seven assists and a goal in his lone Premier League campaign. Down in the Championship this season, Buendia currently leads the league in key passes (35) and is second in assists (4).
If Arsenal fail to get one of their more expensive targets, Buendia could be a solid contingency plan. The Gunners have already seen that the Argentine can certainly handle himself in the Premier League and the soon-to-be 24-year-old will be entering his prime in the upcoming years.
Obviously not exactly a new player transfer, but Ozil would be the logical choice if the Gunners can’t make a deal for any of the aforementioned players. It actually would be a good idea to play the German even with an extra addition to the squad. Ozil has been frozen out of the team since March, something that hasn’t exactly gone over too well with most Arsenal supporters considering the club is having creativity issues.
Though definitely in the autumn of his career, Ozil still gives the Gunners a shot of adrenaline when he plays. In fact, the attacking midfielder was second on the Arsenal team in key passes (36) and shot-creating actions (63) last season despite playing less than 1,500 Premier League minutes. It seems unlikely that Arteta will give Ozil another chance, but he would give this lackluster Arsenal team an attacking option.
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