How far should Arsenal go with their midfield overhaul?

  • The summer transfer window is officially open
  • Arsenal are expected to be very busy on both fronts
  • Rumours suggest there will be lots of changes in midfield
Mikel Arteta will have plenty to think about this summer
Mikel Arteta will have plenty to think about this summer / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

If the rumours are anything to go by, Arsenal might need two team buses and a KSE bailout to accommodate their transfer plans - and that only covers the midfield.

There have already been (small) developments on this front: Mohamed Elneny will soon leave the club after eight years of service, while Jorginho signed a new contract last month to keep him here for another campaign. Elsewhere, it is expected that Albert Sambi Lokonga and Thomas Partey will draw interest over the coming weeks.

But the extent to which Arsenal will invest remains unclear. Midfield is said to rank among our transfer priorities and there are lots of rumours swirling about potential moves, including for AS Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana (confirmed to depart this summer) and Joao Neves of Benfica, with 19-year-old Rennes star Désiré Doué also subject to a large Premier League tug-of-war.   

Of course, there is significant work to be done in midfield and The Gunners should get a proper Granit Xhaka replacement before they go any further.

Flush with cash, space and lots of reported targets, how far should Arsenal go with their midfield plans?

Benfica's Joao Neves is the latest to be linked with Arsenal this summer / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/GettyImages

Yet it surely cannot come at the expense of other key areas (e.g. up front and at fullback), and that sort of squad-wide investment would indeed be jeopardised by some of the aforementioned, big-money deals - and our dreadful sales record suggests exits will not help to fund the bill.  

Additionally, if the above links are legitimate, they also indicate a deviation from our usual ‘youthful experience’/Premier League-ready approach as two of the names mentioned are mere teenagers and all three have never played football outside of their homelands - which do not rank well among the best leagues in Europe.

None of these factors constitute a strong reason to change tack, but they are raised here to highlight how the idea of a big, expensive midfield turnover involving young players in need of acclimatisation is something Arsenal should execute with great caution (as will likely be the case), as the ‘process’ cannot just run on indefinitely and we know there will be no margin for error next term.  

Tactical flexibility (especially re: Declan Rice as a #8 or #6), midfield vacancies and deep pockets mean Mikel Arteta will have plenty of choice, squad space and financial ammunition to play with when considering targets this summer; a fantastic negotiating position to be in, and one being conducted with a level of secrecy that would not look out of place in a James Bond film.

It all allows for whatever amount of midfield business we like and, in that regard, hopefully Arsenal can find the right balance.