Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's performance against Watford
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Arsenal are in jeopardy of losing two first-team stars after both reportedly caught the eye of Real Madrid’s chief scout. Things are beginning to click in north London under manager Mikel Arteta, but if Los Blancos come calling in the summer, they may be left helpless if the rest of the season does not go to plan.
Last weekend’s 3-2 win over Watford was their fourth in a row as Arsenal continue their march up the Premier League table.
Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were all amongst the goals as Arteta’s youthful side put on an electric attacking display, even if they conceded two goals of their own.
Those youngsters have put the Gunners in a promising position to qualify for next season’s Champions League, while their performances have also captured the eye of clubs around Europe.
Currently, they sit fourth in the table with games in hand on all of the chasing pack, and seeing out the mission could prove crucial when it comes to keeping their top talent.
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According to 90min transfer insider Graeme Bailey, Real Madrid chief scout Juni Calafat set about a month-long mission in January.
Saka was initially believed to be the main focus, and the 20-year-old did reportedly impress.
But having paid close attention during a purple patch in Arsenal’s season, left-back Kieran Tierney has also caught the eye after Calafat ‘liked what he saw’.
Madrid are supposedly scouring the market for defensive reinforcements, and a summer move for the Scotsman is now ‘under consideration’.
Indeed, Saka seemingly has no shortage of potential suitors as this season has seen him add goals to his electric displays.
Eight in the Premier League have already been backed up with five assists, while Liverpool and Manchester City are also rumoured to be weighing up a summer move for the youngster, who has two years left on his deal at the Emirates.
While Saka’s departure would be devastating, seeing Tierney head for the exit door may catch fans unawares.
The 24-year-old has been a regular since signing from Celtic in 2019, and with four years left on his current deal, Los Blancos would certainly have to shell out if they were serious about putting together a tempting offer this summer.
Tierney is a firm fan favourite in north London, boasting three assists and a goal so far this campaign, on top of his solid defensive attributes.
Arteta and transfer chief Edu did not give into temptation in January, shying away from pulling the trigger on transfers while a number of fringe players moved elsewhere.
A more frivolous summer is therefore expected, and it remains to be seen whether the prospect of cash will be enough to tempt Arsenal into losing two of their key players.
Taking a knock would be doubly frustrating given the momentum they have worked up under Arteta, but they will have much less leverage to stand in players’ way if they fail to see out this season’s top-four bid.
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