Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta might be wise to pick up some free agents to bolster his squad given the limited budget he will have to work with in the summer transfer window.
Mikel Arteta will get to work reshaping his Arsenal first-team squad in the summer transfer window – but may only have limited funds with which to do so due to the Gunners’ prolonged lack of Champions League football.
With Thomas Partey and Dayot Upamecano among his targets, the pair of whom might cost a combined £100million, Arteta will need to raise funds through player sales and might also look to utilise the free agent market to bolster his options.
Having picked up the likes of Stephan Lichsteiner and Sead Kolasinac in recent seasons, Arsenal are no stranger to a Bosman deal.
Express Sport takes a look at some players who will be out of contract at the end of the season and could be of interest to Arteta.
After seven years at Stamford Bridge, the Brazilian looks set for a new challenge and Arsenal are said to be one of his potential suitors.
Although he’s 32 this August, Willian has still managed five goals and five assists in 28 Premier League games this season and he’s versatile, with an ability to play on the left or right flanks, or as a No 10.
That would be valuable to Mikel Arteta, who could offer Mesut Ozil extra competition but also give the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson an experienced out-and-out winger to learn from.
Willian would also be another adept set-piece taker to add to the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Ozil.
Another ageing forward at 32, Napoli attacker Mertens is still going strong and scored against Liverpool home and away in the Champions League this season.
A shrewd operator at elite level, Mertens has 12 goals and six assists from 29 appearances this term, with six strikes in just seven outings in Europe.
Belgium international Mertens operates almost solely as a false-nine type centre forward for Napoli but can also operate as a left-sided forward or as a second striker.
Express Sport understands Arsenal were interested in a January swoop for Mertens but a deal never came to fruition – so there’s every possibility the north London could return for his signature this summer.
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Another player Express Sport understands to be on the Gunners’ radar, versatile Liverpool midfielder Lallana is more of a central midfielder than a No 10 nowadays with his productivity having dropped in recent years.
But with the on-loan Dani Ceballos likely to return to Real Madrid, Lallana could be a budget temporary replacement for the Spaniard, until Arteta finds a long-term option to be the team’s classy operator in the middle.
Lallana, 32 in May, is diligent with the ball and would have no problem fulfilling Arteta’s physical demands off of the ball.
The England international is also another big dressing room presence, having previously captained Southampton.
Having yet to respond to a contract offer from Sheffield United and with Sander Berge’s January arrival having impacted his minutes, Lundstram is currently headed for the Bramall Lane exit door.
A favourite with Fantasy Premier League fans, the Liverpool-born 26-year-old has four goals and three assists from 27 games in central midfield for the Blades this term.
With Arteta known to be keen on bolstering the midfield, Lundstram might be a shrewd acquisition for the north London club, although it would be a sizeable step-up for the scouser.
He hasn’t looked happy at being displaced by Norwegian international Berge, and the lure of Arsenal might tempt him to reject Sheffield United’s contract offer.
Though he is yet to play a single game for Arsenal due to injury, Cedric is an experienced back-up option who offers valuable cover for Hector Bellerin at right-back.
With 120 Premier League appearances to his name, he offers both experience and good offensive and defensive balance, meaning Arsenal shouldn’t suffer going forward in Bellerin’s absence when Cedric has to step in.
And the Portuguese 28-year-old will already know what Mikel Arteta wants from him, having been at London Colney since January.
It’d be a surprise if Cedric didn’t join Arsenal permanently, even if he only makes a handful of appearances before his loan spell ends.
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