Arsenal: Is the pressure growing on Arteta?
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Arsenal are weighing up the possibility of launching a summer bid for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, according to reports. The Gunners were said to be courting the 28-year-old two years ago ahead of a possible move for his services, but were ultimately unsuccessful in their pursuit and opted to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille instead.
Zaha has long been regarded as one of the best attacking players outside of the Premier League’s top six, and has not disappointed with his efforts for the Eagles this season.
The former Manchester United man has chipped in with nine goals and two assists, helping to keep Palace clear of the division’s bottom three and out of relegation trouble for yet another campaign.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have lacked a cutting edge at the top of the pitch at times this season, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still getting to grips with his newly-found role on the left flank.
The north London club’s dire need for creativity was somewhat addressed by the arrival of Martin Odegaard in the January transfer window, but the Real Madrid loanee is set to return to the Spanish capital in the summer, leaving a hole that will need to be filled by a player with similarly impressive credentials.
Although Zaha is unlikely to be seen as a direct replacement for the Norwegian international given their differing roles, the Ivory Coast international is on Arsenal’s radar ahead of a renewed approach in the summer window, according to 90min.
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His stellar performances for Palace two seasons ago originally piqued the interest of the Gunners, before speculation over a move to the Emirates Stadium died down as the result of a comparatively subdued 2019/20 campaign.
However, the forward’s recent resurgence has apparently rekindled Arsenal’s desire to sign him ahead of the start of next season.
The report claims that Zaha is keen to remain in London, with Palace open to sanctioning his departure if the price is right to fund a much-needed summer overhaul.
But in order to stand any chance of being able to afford the tricky winger, it is claimed that Arsenal would need to sell a number of their first-team stars
Mikel Arteta is already warming to the prospect of cashing in on Alexandre Lacazette, who has been linked with the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks.
The Frenchman is approaching the final year of his current contract, with the Gunners facing the prospect of losing him for nothing at the end of next season.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torreira are also among those to have been mentioned in connection with summer exits.
Arteta claimed last month that significant changes could be on the horizon at Arsenal, suggesting that a huge amount of business is likely to be on the agenda in order to work towards restoring the club’s former glory.
“We don’t know yet because we have so many things to do,” he told reporters last month when quizzed on his transfer strategy.
“We have people on loan, people finishing contracts. There has been a lot going on in the last two transfer windows, the amount of things that had to be done was probably unprecedented and it will be again in the summer.
“We are trying to put a plan together to see the resources that we have, how much we want to improve, how we’re going to do it and at what cost. There are so many factors, it’s not just about one thing or an amount.
“It’s about the project and, timewise, how to build it is going to take some effort from everybody and we know that. The challenging moments that we are facing at the moment is making it even harder.”
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