Arsenal transfer failure set to give chance to player Mikel Arteta ‘rates highly’

Arsenal: Arteta says they’re still in top four contention

Arsenal failed to bring in a left-back late in the transfer window despite Mikel Arteta making it clear on more than one occasion he wanted to strengthen in that position. With Kieran Tierney set to miss his fourth straight match in all competitions due to injury, Arteta has been left with only one recognised option on the left side of defence. Cedric Soares has played in that position for the last three matches and should start again against Wolves on Tuesday.

However, Cedric is right-footed and therefore is unable to provide the same attacking presence as the left-sided Tierney.

Arsenal were linked with a move for Crystal Palace star Patrick van Aanholt and Southampton ace Ryan Bertrand – both of whom are out of contract at the end of the season.

Arteta allowed Sead Kolasinac to leave the club on loan in the window, leaving Tierney as the only left-footed option.

The Spaniard said he was in the market for a left-back, stating after Kolasinac’s exit: “That means that the option is open and we will look to see what is available.”

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However, a deal failed to materialise for Van Aanholt, Bertrand or any other left-back.

But that could give an opportunity to youngster Joel Lopez.

Football.london claim Lopez is set to get further chances to train with the first-team squad over the next few months.

Arteta and his coaching staff are said to rate the 18-year-old highly.

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Lopez came through the ranks at Barcelona before joining Arsenal in 2018.

The Spaniard has been a regular for the Arsenal under-23 side in Premier League 2 this season.

The report claims Lopez is now regarded as the Gunners’ third-choice left-back.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was another option in that position, but he was loaned to West Brom late on deadline day.

Bukayo Saka has played at left-back in the past but Arteta must be reluctant to do so again after the teenager’s influential recent performances in the front three.

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could return to the squad for the trip to Wolves.

Aubameyang has missed the last three matches due to personal reasons.

Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari are both available again after their respective injury problems.

And Saka will have a late test to see if the sore hip that kept him out of the 0-0 draw with Manchester United has healed sufficiently.

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