Arsenal: Arteta's defiant message to critics after tough season
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Arsenal are keen on signing Norwich City star Emiliano Buendia this summer and have reportedly made a £30million bid for the player. Mikel Arteta has not hidden his desire to sign an attacking midfielder and would prefer to re-sign Martin Odegaard following his loan spell with the Gunners. However, the pair are different types of players which could mean they have varying impacts on the Arsenal squad depending on who joins.
Odegaard played the majority of his loan spell in the No 10 position under Arteta.
Emile Smith Rowe was often shifted out wide to accommodate the Norway captain.
So you would think a similar situation would occur if Odegaard returned to the Emirates.
However, if Arsenal cannot prise Odegaard away from the Bernabeu again, then Buendia would become more of a top target.
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But Buendia is not exactly the No 10 Arteta is looking for.
According to whoscored.com, Buendia started on the right side of attacking midfield in all 39 of his Championship appearances last season.
And therefore the Argentine’s arrival at Arsenal could put a couple of players’ noses out of joint.
The first player it could affect is Bukayo Saka.
Saka made the right-wing position his own for the majority of last season.
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The England star is likely to be named Arsenal’s player of the season on Friday, which highlights his importance despite not turning 20 until September.
Arteta cannot block Saka’s pathway and that should not happen, even if Buendia joins.
However, Arsenal won’t be spending up to £40m on Buendia for him to sit on the bench.
It isn’t just Saka who could face problems if Buendia moved to north London.
There is also the case of Nicolas Pepe, who started to show his true worth in the final few matches of last season.
The club-record signing has often flattered to deceive since his £72m transfer from Lille.
He had to operate from the left at times last season when Saka was shining on the opposite flank.
But he scored five goals in his last three appearances, all coming off the right.
Pepe will feel he has done enough to earn a regular spot under Arteta next term.
However, Buendia will surely have something to say about that if a deal does get over the line.
You can see why Arteta would prefer to sign Odegaard, as he would provide much more balance to his squad and potentially less selection headaches too.
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