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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Five players who could join Arsenal this summer

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Arsenal are aiming to go one better next season after consecutive runners-up finishes in the Premier League.

The Gunners have backed Mikel Arteta in the transfer market in recent windows, including the club-record arrival of Declan Rice a year ago, and look set to invest once again this summer.

A centre-forward, central midfielder and left-sided centre-back are all on the agenda for Arsenal and we’ve looked at five players who could join the North Londoners this summer.

Five players who could join Arsenal this summer:

Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna)

Arsenal are understood to be leading the chase of Riccardo Calafiori with the defender having given the ‘green light’ to a move to North London. A standout season in Serie A saw Calafiori break into the Italy team ahead of Euro 2024 and his performances have not gone unnoticed at Europe’s top clubs.

The 6ft 2in defender has thrived at Bologna since moving from full-back to a central role, combining the forward-thinking qualities from his previous position with determined defensive work. Last season, he ranked sixth in Serie A for percentage of aerial duels won (71.4%) and interceptions, as Bologna secured a top-five finish and Champions League qualification.

🚨🔴⚪️ After Riccardo Calafiori’s green light to move and contract, Arsenal have made direct contact with Bologna.

Talks between clubs have started.

No issues on Calafiori’s contract terms, up to the clubs now.

Arsenal currently ahead, no bid from Chelsea so far. pic.twitter.com/nUOfD836Cp

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 4, 2024

A natural left-footer, his ease at carrying the ball forward has seen Calafiori rank in the 92nd percentile of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues for successful take-ons per game across the last 12 months. Viewed as a potential upgrade on Jakub Kiwior, Calafiori could enable Mikel Arteta to continue the trend of selecting four centre-backs across his backline next season.

Joan Garcia (Espanyol)

Joan Garcia is a name on Arsenal’s radar as the North Londoners look to bolster their goalkeeping stocks. The Spain u-21 international made 14 league appearances in Spain’s Segunda División in 2023-24 and, statistically, appears a solid substitute for David Raya.

He averaged similar numbers for the percentage of crosses into the penalty area stopped (16.1% in comparison to Raya’s 13%) and defensive actions outside the penalty area per game (1.64 in comparison to Raya’s 1.56).

The move to the Premier League would represent a significant step up but Arsenal see potential in the 23-year-old. His arrival could allow Aaron Ramsdale to depart in search of first-team football.

Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad)

Martin Zubimendi has been perennially linked with a move to Arsenal with Mikel Arteta a long-term admirer of the Basque-born midfielder. Zubimendi has been an integral part of the Real Sociedad side since progressing through the club’s ranks and helped the Spaniards reach the Champions League’s last-16 in 2023-24.

Though it has been suggested Arteta wants to add greater athleticism to his engine room, Zubimendi’s arrival could enable Declan Rice to be pushed further forward to utilise his running power.

Martin Zubimendi has unlocked the clutch gene in his game 💫🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/roVCSUj2hR

— LaLigaExtra (@LaLigaExtra) January 5, 2024

The Spaniard is comfortable as a lone-pivot with the technique to handle the ball in pressurised situations, with his attributes appearing idealistic as a long-term successor to Jorginho. A release clause of €60m (£50.75m) makes a deal viable if Arsenal can persuade the midfielder to leave his boyhood side.

Viktor Tsygankov (Girona)

Arsenal are assessing wide options as the Gunners look to ease the burden on Bukayo Saka and Viktor Tsygankov is a player who has been tracked.

The Ukraine international was outstanding as Girona upset the odds to secure Champions League qualification last season, scoring eight times and providing seven assists in La Liga. At 26 and with top-level experience in Europe, Tsygankov could be a shrewd signing with a reported release clause of €30m (£25.5m) in his contract with the Catalan club.

🎯 Viktor Tsygankov in the last visit to Vallecas! 🇺🇦#RayoGirona | #LaLigaHighlights | @LaLigaEN


— Girona FC (@GironaFC_Engl) November 10, 2023

A real goal threat, Tsygankov scored 77 goals in 156 league appearances for Dynamo Kyiv before his move to Spain and has netted 13 times for Ukraine.

Viktor Gyokeres (Sporting Lisbon)

After consecutive runners-up finishes in the Premier League, the signing of a centre-forward has been touted as the next step to turn Arsenal from contenders into champions.

Kai Havertz’s fine form during the run-in and impressive performances at Euro 2024 have added an alternative option, but the expectation is that Arsenal will address their forward line with a recognised number nine.

Viktor Gyokeres features near the top of Arsenal’s shortlist of strikers following a sensational first season with Sporting Lisbon. Overlooked by Premier League teams last summer when leaving Coventry, the Swedish striker has exploded in the Primeira Liga.

Gyokeres scored 43 goals in 50 appearances across all competitions and added a further 15 assists, earning the Bola de Prata as Portugal’s top scorer in a title-winning season for Sporting.

Another week, another Viktor Gyökeres goal 💫

Taken just as well as you’d expect!#UEL pic.twitter.com/JD4nEIx49I

— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) February 22, 2024

The 25-year-old is an all-action bullish presence at centre-forward and last season led the Primeira Liga for goals (29), xG (22.35), and shots on target (53) while ranking third for successful take-ons and fifth for progressive carries. Sporting will want his release clause paid in full €100m (£86m) to lose that output.

Read – Five players who could join Chelsea this summer

See more – Five players who have caught the eye at the Copa America

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