Arsenal have less than a week left to do the remainder of their January transfer business, and manager Mikel Arteta is set for important talks with Stan Kroenke in the United States
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is running out of time to bolster his squad, but he will hope his meeting with owner Stan Kroenke leads to progress in the final week of the transfer window.
Arteta has flown out to the United States during the Premier League’s winter break, and was pictured with Kroenke at a Colorado Avalanche ice hockey game over the weekend.
Long-time transfer target Dusan Vlahovic looks set to pass on a move to north London, instead opting for Juventus, and Arsenal still have work to do in the market after what has been a relatively quiet month so far.
Sead Kolasinac has left for Marseille and several players have gone out on loan, but no senior players have been added to the ranks.
Mirror Football has taken a look at the key items on Arteta’s agenda as he prepares to work against the clock and win over the owner ahead of a busy few days.
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1. Vlahovic disappointment
Arsenal had reportedly been prepared to meet Fiorentina’s asking price for Dusan Vlahovic, but their failure to get a deal over the line allowed Juventus to enter the race.
Once the Bianconeri were an option, the Serbian striker seemed set on a move to the Italian club, and it may be the case that the Gunners were never likely to be able to compete with Massimiliano Allegri’s side.
However, Arteta will likely want words with Kroenke about why Arsenal were unable to push harder and push earlier, as they look to avoid a repeat with any future transfer target.
2. Alternative striker targets
Vlahovic isn’t the only striker who Arsenal have been looking at, and Arteta will want answers when it comes to finding the funds for another top forward.
Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are two of the men most strongly linked with a move to London, with both boasting a strong record of scoring goals in top European leagues.
As such, neither would come cheap – though Real Sociedad frontman Isak is believed to have a release clause – and Arteta will need reassurances that the funds are there for his team to meet the asking price as they aim to address an important position.
3. Midfield solution
Central midfield has been another problem position in January, though the return of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny will help alleviate the situation.
Nevertheless, the opportunity to add quality to the squad appears to have presented itself, with the names of Georginio Wijnaldum and Arthur Melo popping up on a regular basis over the course of the month.
Arteta will surely want answers from Kroenke about what will be possible in the transfer market with Ainsley Maitland-Niles joining the loan exodus and Elneny out of contract in the summer.
Even a loan move could be a consideration, given the success of Martin Odegaard’s initial temporary arrival from Real Madrid last January.
4. Aubameyang resolution
The real elephant in the room at Arsenal concerns Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the future of the striker could have an impact on what else the club do this month.
Aubameyang will have gone two months without kicking a ball by the time Arsenal next play, having been dropped from the side and stripped of the captaincy, and Al-Nassr have made enquiries over a potential January move.
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If Arsenal are able to get a fee for the Gabon international – even a hefty loan fee – it could set the wheels in motion for spending on new arrivals.
5. Striker contracts
With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah out of contract in the summer, Aubameyang’s future had looked the most secure of the trio before his recent disciplinary breach.
Now, Arsenal face the prospect of losing three strikers in the space of a few months, leaving them particularly light up front.
Arteta has been vocal on the commitment of both Lacazette and Nketiah despite their contract situations, and any discussion with Kroenke regarding transfers will surely also need to incorporate assurances about where the pair will be playing their football beyond the end of this season.
6. Future of on-loan duo
A number of Arsenal fans will feel some of their problems could be solved by players currently under contract but out on loan – most notably the two Gunners men spending the season with Marseille.
Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba have both impressed for Jorge Sampaoli’s side, helping them embark on a Champions League push in Ligue 1, prompting questions about where their future lies.
While Guendouzi’s deal is believed to contain an option to buy, that is not the case with centre-back Saliba, who is thought to be a bigger part of Arsenal’s plans.
The French duo could be crucial to Arteta’s transfer plans, both in the immediate and longer term, and it will be important to ensure he and Kroenke are on the same page.