Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's defeat at Newcastle
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Arsenal haven’t played in the Champions League since the 2016/2017 season and, now, it looks like that wait will continue given their poor end to the season. However, in the past, the Gunners have spent big on the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette despite not having a place in Europe’s top club competition to offer potential targets. And with Mikel Arteta eyeing Napoli star Victor Osimhen, it’s possible history will repeat itself.
Arsenal had, until recently, been the frontrunners in the race to finish fourth in the Premier League table and secure Champions League qualification.
But defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle in their last two matches means that, instead, they’re primed to be in the Europa League next term.
Regardless, however, it seems as though Arsenal are ready to spend big this summer as they look to give Arteta the best possible chance of succeeding in the future.
And reports from Italy have suggested they’ve seen a massive £76million bid for Osimhen fail.
The 23-year-old has enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s best young strikers, having scored 14 goals from 26 Serie A appearances this term.
Only Domenico Berardi, Gianluca ScamaccaScamacca, Giovanni Simeone, Tammy Abraham, Lautaro Martinez, Dusan Vlahovic and Ciro Immobile have managed more.
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And with Arsenal eager to secure Osimhen’s signature, it’s possible they’ll return with another bid to ensure they land their man.
Given the vast finances being discussed- a £76m deal for Osimhen would make him one of the costliest players of all time – it’s feasible he could become the next Pepe and Lacazette.
Arsenal have, in recent years, spent big on attacking players whenever they’ve missed out on the top four.
Lacazette was their marquee arrival back in the summer transfer window of 2017, with the France international touching down from Lyon.
He had, actually, been targeted by Arsene Wenger 12 months previously – only to end up staying put.
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But Arsenal secured the signature of Lacazette for a massive £46.5m, making him their club-record signing in the process.
The France international has blown hot and cold for the club ever since and, this summer, is expected to leave the Emirates Stadium behind on a free transfer.
But Lacazette was a shrewd addition at the time and, had Wenger stayed, it’s possible his time in the capital would have worked out differently.
Then, in 2019, the Gunners wanted to make a statement signing for Unai Emery – who had replaced Wenger the previous year.
Wilfried Zaha was actually the Spaniard’s top target, only for Crystal Palace to price their London rivals out of a deal for their prized asset.
So Arsenal then opted to splurge a massive £72m on Pepe instead, with the Ivory Coast international arriving from Lille.
It was, at the time, seen as a substantial deal.
Yet Pepe, like Lacazette, has been unable to propel Arsenal back into the Champions League during his three years at the club.
Now, by appearing to lodge a big offer to lure Osimhen away from Napoli, Arteta could be about to land his very own marquee addition – despite not finishing in the top four.
The Nigeria international has also been linked with Manchester United, who need a striker to fill the void left by Edinson Cavani’s imminent departure.
Yet Arsenal’s need is arguably greater.
Lacazette is heading for the exit door, with Lyon interested in a reunion with their former striker.
The Gunners are yet to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was allowed to join Barcelona back in the January transfer window after falling out of favour.
And Arsenal are also facing the prospect of Eddie Nketiah pursuing a new challenge away from the capital, too.
If Arsenal do land Osimhen, it could be the signing they need in order to qualify for the Champions League again.
But, with such a big deal, come big expectations as well.
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