Arsenal signing Milinkovic-Savic would be bad news for four players
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Arsenal may be flying high at the top of the Premier League, but the club’s reported pursuit of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could put the future of some members of Mikel Arteta’s squad in jeopardy. The Spaniard is still hoping to improve his squad despite spending £120million this summer with a high-profile January transfer not out of the question.
The Gunners are currently two points clear of Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League with Tottenham in hot pursuit, and signing Milinkovic-Savic midway through the season would lay down a marker of their ambition.
The 27-year-old has been one of Serie A’s most consistent performers and the Lazio star has already scored three goals and provided seven assists in 11 matches this season. According to Calciomercato, the club are considering an offer which includes a lump sum and a player in part-exchange.
The Italian outfit rate him at around £90m, but Arsenal may be willing to offer fringe players to head in the opposition direction to convince them to sell. With that in mind, the Serbian’s arrival could impact some players already at the Emirates Stadium, as Express Sport looks at four stars who could face an uncertain future.
Xhaka is arguably in the best form of his Arsenal career after being handed a more advanced role by Arteta, having scored three goals and created three assists this season. But at 30 years of age, the Swiss is entering a period where the club will start planning to find a successor.
The Swiss has become an instrumental part of Arteta’s team and won’t be shafted by any means. But Milinkovic-Savic is a specialist playmaker who has a track record for creating and scoring goals. Most likely, his arrival would see Xhaka slot into a deeper role as a No 6, where he has been less effective and more prone to picking up yellow cards.
Albert Sambi Lokonga
Already struggling for game time, signing Milinkovic-Savic would surely be the nail in the coffin for the Belgian midfielder. Arteta has handed the 23-year-old some minutes from the bench of late when needing some fresh legs to see out results, or in the Europa League where the standard of opponent is slightly lower.
But in reality, Arsenal’s £18m investment in 2021 is yet to produce a positive return and, if as suggested Sambi Lokonga can be used as as a makeweight in the deal to bring Milinkovic-Savic, technical director Edu Gaspar may be forced to consider it.
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There is no questioning that Odegaard is the orchestrator behind Arteta’s masterplan at Arsenal. He presses relentlessly, links the midfield and attack and plays neat reverse passes that few others see. He is the metronome at keeps this side ticking.
But the Norwegian cannot do it all himself. The congestion that comes with Premier League clubs’ fixtures means players cannot play every three days and require some rotation.
Milinkovic-Savic and Odegaard swapping places would be an ideal situation for Arteta, but one of them would not be happy with such an arrangement – and if Milinkovic-Savic costs anything near his eye-watering asking price, it may Odegaard who is left out.
One of Arsenal’s brightest talents has impressed with Blackpool after heading out on loan this season, but it is clear the 19-year-old needs to be playing regularly.
Most likely, Milinkovic-Savic’s arrival would surely force him to secure a temporary switch elsewhere in 2023-24 when he might have expected to get some first-team experience at the Emirates.
That will provide some concern for Arsenal fans, given how Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were able to show their ability with chances in the first team. Unfortunately, Patino may not be handed the same luxury.
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