Mikel Arteta forged Arsenal‘s return to the Champions League. With a packed schedule full of European adventures ahead, the Gunners are looking to the future, evident through their quick-fire blitz in the summer transfer window.
Unlike previous transfer periods, both Arteta and Edu showed a different level of direction, spending over £200m in July in order to get the squad ready to fight once more in the 2023/24 campaign. The dressing room doors will only be opened for those who embody their ambitions, as was the case last season with Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Such ambition was delivered efficiently by the north Londoners, obtaining Kai Havertz from Chelsea, Jurrien Timber from Ajax and Declan Rice for West Ham United, a deal that one its own thrashed the previous transfer record fee held at the club.
Spending £105m alone on Rice, the Gunners’ activity in the window looked to slow down, however with movements still expected in both directions, it’s too early to conclude the summer spending.
Last campaign the Gunners were in touching distance of claiming their first Premier League title since the invincible season of 2004, a feat that will this year mark 20 years since Arsenal were last crowned champions. Sufficient reinforcements this summer could close the gap and restart the clocks, which Arteta and Edu are more than aware of.
Here, we will have a look at the top transfer targets for the Spaniard’s side Arsenal for the remainder of the summer window.
Before we cover one of the more controversial Arsenal transfer targets at the moment, let us quickly clarify one thing. Ivan Toney is currently banned from competing in professional football in England until January 2024. However, this does not prevent him from making any transfer moves, even if he will not be able to compete for any professional team until this suspension is over. This actually creates a very interesting situation, and it looks as though Arsenal might be looking to capitalize on Toney's current status to grab the striker for a bargain price.
As you probably know, Ivan Toney is still on the books at Brentford, yet according to recent reports, the club would be open to selling Toney for a price of around £80 million. Adding further fuel to these transfer rumors, it is reported that Brentford is looking to offload Ivan Toney by 2024. So with that being the case, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Arsenal did make a last-minute bid for Ivan Toney in order to get him ready to represent the club from January 2024 onwards.
With that said, whether a bid comes through will depend on Arteta’s ability to offload a few players over the next few days. This is the only way that the club could muster up the fee needed to bring in Ivan Toney.
Although football fans tend to get excited about the potential signings of goal-scorers like Ivan Toney, sometimes, the smartest moves are made with regard to other areas of the pitch. This brings us to another one of the Arsenal transfer targets that could become a Gunner within the next 7 days. Based on recent transfer speculations, it seems as though Arsenal could be planning to make a move for Perr Schuurs – a 23-year-old center-back who currently plays for Torino. This move has been brought about due to the potential departure of Gabriel, and if such a move did occur, Arteta would need to move quickly to bring Schuurs in. After all, there is less than a week to go until the summer transfer period is over.
There are other elements that make Schuurs one of the more likely Arsenal transfer targets over the coming days as well. Specifically, Arsenal has offloaded two center-backs in the form of Auston Trusty and Pablo Mari in recent weeks, and this has left a bit of a void in terms of adequate replacements in such positions. Yet as referenced above, if Gabriel also left, Arsenal would then go from having a void to displaying a clear weakness in this region.
Of the potential Arsenal departures that could unfold over the coming days, there are several rumors relating to departures involving midfield players. And perhaps the most likely of them all, it looks as though Kieran Tierney could be completing a move to Real Sociedad – at least those are the most recent rumors. In fact, if the latest rumors are true, Tierney could well be arriving in Spain on Saturday, August 26th, to complete medicals ahead of a loan move.
Should that be the case, this then opens up the door for Arsenal to make a move for Martin Zubimendi – a direct replacement for Kieran Tierney. On that note, Zubimendi claims to be content at Real Sociedad, and the Spanish international hasn’t specifically shown interest in a move to the Premier League. Yet if the figure is right, there is every chance that Zubimendi could be persuaded to secure a deal with Arsenal before the summer transfer window shuts.
Therefore, this is a potential deal that we shall be monitoring very closely over the coming days.
David Raya – Brentford
Following the quick exit of goalkeeper Matt Turner to Nottingham, Arsenal were left short of a shot-stopper to compete and alternate with number one Aaron Ramsdale. It looks as though the arrival of Brentford sensation David Raya is imminent, with the Spanaird set to make the move to the Emirates on an initial loan with the option to buy.
🚨 EXCL: Arsenal taking David Raya on £3m loan + £27m buy option. Brentford contract extension (#BrentfordFC get fee if #AFC sign & retain value if not). Said goodbyes today, medical likely Thurs. Paperwork stage. W/ @jaydmharris @gunnerblog @TheAthleticFC https://t.co/bCTPK8yVTm
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 9, 2023
As called by The Athletic, the 27-year-old will move for £3m on a season-long loan, which the Gunners will then have the option to make permanent for a further £27m. Raya played all 38 of Brentford’s Premier League fixtures last term, contributing to 12 clean sheets in an impressive individual display in the top-flight.
With his arrival imminent, it will be a strong test for Ramsdale and a move that cements Arsenal’s ambition in acquiring one of the league’s top keepers.
Nicolo Barella – Inter Milan
The signing of Rice significantly bolstered Arteta’s midfield, particularly following the departure of Granit Xhaka. The Swiss star spent seven seasons in north London before bidding farewell for a return to the Bundesliga to join Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the window.
The 30-year-old was handed a new role at the Emirates in his final season, acting as a threat in the final third with Thomas Partey acting as the anchor. The Gunners have now been linked to Inter Milan maestro Nicolo Barella, who could play such role perfectly with his track record of being a lively box-to-box outlet in Milan.
News in Italy has linked the 26-year-old to Arsenal, speculating that the club could sacrifice both Folarin Balogun and Takehiro Tomiyasu as part of a deal to obtain Barella. If news is to be believed, it could be an exciting acquisition for Arteta and the future of the club’s midfield.
Douglas Luiz – Aston Villa
Another defensive midfielder rumoured to be of interest in north London is Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz. In fact, the Brazilian has been linked to both Arsenal and rivals Tottenham this summer, in a move that would be a statement for either side.
The combative 25-year-old made appearances in all but one of Villa’s Premier League fixtures last season, scoring six goals and registering six assists, emerging as one of Unai Emery’s most integral cogs in the midfield.
Reports have claimed that Spurs are ready to make a move for Luiz, with Arsenal continually named as potential buyers alongside the Lilywhites. The Brazilian would be a strong signing for the Gunners, particularly amid rumours questioning Partey’s future in England, which would leave Arteta short of a defensive minded whiz once again.
The 25-year-old could fit perfectly into the Spaniard’s style of play due to his passing and offensive ability, which could work well paired with the qualities of Rice and Martin Odegaard.
Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City
Last summer, Arsenal snatched two talents from eventual champions Manchester City, signing Jesus and Zinchenko. The two players massively improved things at the Emirates, implementing a champions mentality to the young squad as well as succeeding in their roles under Arteta.
Now, rumours have surfaced claiming the Gunners’ interest in exiled defender Aymeric Laporte, who has fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad in recent years. The Spaniard is one of the best in his role in Europe, and could be a strong addition in north London as the club bid to add sufficient depth at the back.
If the versatile centre-back could follow in the footsteps of his former teammates, the outlook of the club’s defence could be positive following the lack of depth last term that arguably cost them the title.