Premier League leaders Arsenal are prepared to strengthen the senior set-up under fan-favorite manager Mikel Arteta after reports link the Gunners with targeting a wide forward during the January transfer window.
According to The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath, Arteta and club technical director Edu Gaspar are in the final stages of completing a complete overhaul of the first-team squad that has seen all but one of Unai Emery’s signings at the Emirates depart, with just Kieran Tierney the only remaining member of a now-forgotten era in north London.
Given Arsenal’s hot start to the 2022-23 Premier League season - the third-best points haul of any start in the history of the top flight of English football since its rebranding - and their continued push on the continent in the Europa League have dictated the club’s need to continue in their overhaul of the senior team and look to add a winger in what is a difficult footballing calendar this season.
At current, the Gunners boast just Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, and summer signing Marquinhos as wide options for Arteta to call upon, with the likes of Gabriel Jesus and an eventually-returning Emile Smith Rowe also capable on the right and left flank respectively.
But questions surrounding a number of those options could force the Gunners into a January market they historically tend to avoid, with their last major mid-season signing coming in the vein of former club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who arrived just six months after Alexandre Lacazette.
Marquinhos, though he looked bright at the beginning of the season, has tumbled down the pecking order and has been usurped by Hale End product Reiss Nelson, who is under pressure to show that he can be a vital member of the senior squad after a series of loan spells on the continent have seen him struggle while regularly being ostracized at London Colney.
Nelson’s performance against Nottingham Forest last weekend, though brilliant, may not be enough if he does not find consistency, and with the likes of Saka and Jesus destines for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, reinforcements in the forward line are paramount.
Links with Ukrainian and Shakhtar Donetsk starlet Mykhailo Mudryk remain, while fresh links with a new interest in Orlando City’s Facundo Torres have now risen to the surface.
Mudryk is a reported fan of the way Arsenal plays football under Arteta, stating “Arsenal is a very good team. Very good coach, I like the way they play,” while Torres’ agent is said to be in line to meet with MLS executives to discuss a move for the 22-year-old Uruguayan.
Either player would constitute a move that would further push the needle when it comes to Arsenal’s quality in depth and ability to cope with a congested fixture list this season as well as the prospect of possible fitness concerns coming due to the World Cup.
Beyond the desire to add further quality to the forward line, the Gunners also remain cited as having serious interest in highly-touted Palmeiras star holding midfielder Danilo (21), as their links with recruitment in Brazil under Edu continue.
Questions surrounding the performances of Belgian international Sambi Lokonga continue to swirl after an injury to veteran midfielder Mohamed Elneny has found the 23-year-old former RSC Anderlecht standout forced into a role he is not entirely accustomed when he gets the call ahead of Thomas Partey during the Europa League.
Partey, who is unquestionably bound for Qatar with Ghana in a matter of weeks, has been managed by Arteta as well as possible given recent injury concerns, and the need for Arsenal to reinforce the center of the park must now also be viewed as a priority.
Should one or more of Mudryk, Torres, and/or Danilo fans can be confident that the club would be able to continue its bid for its first Premier League title since 2003-04 and the first of the Emirates era.