Mikel Arteta’s squad could look different in January, as Arsenal weigh up their options ahead of the winter window in the bid to keep up the momentum in their title charge.
The Gunners sit just one point from the summit in the Premier League table after 12 games played, however the club’s stance in the upcoming transfer market could be fundamental to their league position in May.
Injury woes continue to plague Arteta’s side, adding to the expectation to welcome reinforcements in January, with one former target said to be the north Londoners’ favoured move.
Arsenal transfer targets – Douglas Luiz
Renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano recently told Caught Offside that Arsenal “really, really want” Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz in January.
The Brazilian was eyed by the Gunners last summer, in which three bids were rejected by Villa amid Arteta and Edu’s desire to welcome the former Manchester City man to the Emirates.
According to CIES Football Observatory, the 25-year-old has a market value of €60m (£52m), making him an expensive asset to target this winter, however it’s clear that the north Londoners have admired the midfielder throughout his rise at Villa Park.
Romano added that Unai Emery’s star player would be the “perfect midfielder” for Arsenal, although he will be far from easy to acquire from the Midlands side, who have “no intention” to allow him to leave.
Why Douglas Luiz would be a good signing for Arsenal
With Thomas Partey struggling to stay fit, Declan Rice is Arteta’s only option regarded to be of starting XI calibre available at present in the engine room.
In Luiz, the Spaniard could secure a future partner for the Englishman, as well as a player capable of playing to the manager’s demands in midfield with a host of Premier League experience.
Statistically comparable to Rice by FBref based on his performances this season, the Brazil international has the perfect balance of a combative and ball-playing presence, highlighted by his average of 2.38 tackles and 5.81 progressive passes per 90.
If Arsenal were to focus on attempting to bring the Villa dynamo to the Emirates, a shift in personnel in midfield would be necessary for financial reasons, with Fabio Vieira interestingly linked with a move away in January.
Speaking to Caught Offside, Romano touched upon Marseille’s interest in the Gunners’ outsider with reference to a potential loan dealm as the 23-year-old continues to struggle to impose himself in north London.
|Douglas Luiz vs Fabio Vieira 23/24 Premier League|
|Statistic||Douglas Luiz||Fabio Vieira|
|Key passes per game||1.2||0.4|
|Total duel wins per game||4.9||1.9|
|Big chances created||2||2|
|Expected assists (xA)||1.30||0.53|
|Figures via Sofascore|
While the former Porto gem is more of an attacking asset in central midfield, his numbers this term suggest that Luiz could replace him at Arsenal with the Brazilian boasting more of a playmaking presence from deeper areas.
As highlighted in the table above, in the instance of offloading Vieira to make way for the Villa sensation, Arteta would not compromise the Gunners’ attacking outlets, suggesting that the switch in personnel would benefit the squad in all aspects.
There’s good reason as to why the manager is so set on capturing Luiz’s signature, with journalist Gregg Evans once lauding the midfielder as an “absolute joy to watch” for his growth at Villa Park.
In trading Vieira for Luiz, Arteta could make a fundamental change to his options in midfield, with the Brazil international fairing as the more-suited figure for the manager to integrate into his side.