Arsenal have struggled for creativity ever since Mesut Ozil was axed from the first team. While things did get really bad for a while, they did get better after Emile Smith Rowe was integrated into the first team. Smith Rowe’s introduction was a ray of hope in what ultimately was a disastrous season for Arsenal.
At the start of last season, everyone at Arsenal knew they needed a new creative player, and the Arsenal higher-ups decided to bring in Willian. The Brazilian did prove himself at Chelsea, but investing so much money on a 33-year-old was a huge mistake. His first season at Arsenal ended horribly, having scored just once and assisting seven goals.
After that failed experiment, the Gunners are now trying to sell the Brazilian, with Mikel Arteta now prioritizing the signing of a new attacking midfielder. Smith Rowe will prove to be a crucial player for Arsenal for years to come, but they still need another creative player if they are to get back to the top.
Here is a look at five creative midfielders Arsenal should target this summer:
#.1 James Maddison
James Maddison is exactly the type of signing the arsenal fans want and the kind of signing Arsenal need, but it’s a signing that seems unlikely to happen. The Leicester City player has been constantly linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, but his £60 million valuation might prove to be a problem.
Despite that valuation, I would not completely rule out Maddison moving to Arsenal just yet. Arsenal have started spending big money on players in the last few years, and with a reported budget of £250 million this summer, they could go all out to revamp their squad.
Adding a player of Maddison’s caliber would be immense for Arsenal, especially because Areta’s team have struggled for goals from midfield. With Maddison being a direct and incisive player and a set-piece expert, he would add the exact qualities Arsenal are lacking.
This transfer will likely drag on until the final day of the transfer window, and with three years remaining on his contract, Leicester City hold the upper hand. However, if reports are to be believed, Maddison fancies a move to Arsenal so, if the two teams can agree on a fee, this transfer could happen.
#2. Houssem Aouar
Houssem Aouar was linked with a move to Arsenal last summer and it looked like the deal would happen right at the end of the window. However, Arsenal was too stingy with how much they wanted to pay, and Lyon was not budging from their £ 45 million valuation.
A lot has changed this season, however, with one of them being Lyon failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Reports say that Lyon’s financial deficit stretches to an estimated €185 million and will be forced to sell several high earning players if they are to balance the books.
Along with the fact that Aouar is in the final year of his contract, Arsenal will have the upper hand during negotiations with reports saying the Frenchman could be available for just €25 million.
This transfer could very well drag out until the final weeks of the transfer window, as Arsenal will feel they can afford to run down the clock a bit and submit an even lower bid.