Arsenal, as usual, have been linked to pretty much every name under the sun in recent months. With Leicester City pipping them to Premier League glory and the possibility of finishing behind north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s near-20 years, calls have been made for something to change.
The Gunners have signed just Mohamed Elneny and Petr Cech in the last year, while injuries have meant that utilising the full squad has been underutilised.
Plenty of fans will look to excuses like ‘we didn’t sign a world class striker, ‘we need a new Patrick Vieira’ for Arsenal not winning the league, the squad is more than good enough to win the Premier League – which means that season has been nothing less than a failure.
But is signing a new midfielder the best option, or do Arsenal already have that required midfield talent already? We’ve taken a look at five central midfielders who could be key to the club’s success next season.
Kante is a superstar.
The 25-year-old has been incredible in his first ever season in the Premier League – described as the toughest top division in world football.
He’s come in and just bossed it, selected for the PFA Team of the Year and a nominee for the Player of the Year, there are not enough superlatives that can be used to describe the man.
Kante is a great tackler of the ball, has bags of energy and is even more consistent than ‘Mr. Consistent’ himself, Nacho Monreal. If it’s true that the Frenchman’s release clause is just £20m, no time should be wasted on snapping him up.
Zelalem is just a teenager still but has had a very good and useful year on loan at Rangers in the Scottish Championship.
The American has been described as a clever passer of the ball with ‘excellent’ vision. Sat alongside Mohamed Elneny or someone to that effect who can protect the defence, Zelalem would be able to dictate play and the Gunners would have the type of midfielders who can retain the ball and keep it moving forward.
Too often this season, we have seen players like Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin slow play down and unable to move the ball quickly to devastating effect. If Zelalem has a good pre-season with the Gunners this summer, he could come into the side and make a real difference, finding those pockets in midfield and controlling games of football in the Arsenal way.
Xhaka, Arsenal’s reported no.1 target this summer, is the player that most supporters will want to see join the midfield this summer.
The Swiss international is young, already the captain of Borussia Monchengladbach and has the tenacity to play in the Premier League.
At just 23-years-old, Xhaka would join the midfield and could affirm his place in the side for a number of years, although his price tag at over £34m would mean he is quite the risk for Arsene to take. If anyone knows what the Frenchman is like, he does not like to splash cash, meaning Xhaka would really have had to persuade the boss with his performances throughout this season.
This, really, is the story that everyone wants.
Jack Wilshere is Arsenal through and through but his career has sadly been more stop start than the Superbowl.
The England international has played just one Premier League game this season after breaking his leg in the summer and it appears that he is made of tissue but when available and on a run of form, the 24-year-old is easily amongst the best midfielders in the country.
If Wilshere can remain fit for the remainder of the season and have a good Euro 2016 with England, followed by a rest and pre-season, he could be set for a career defining campaign at the club.
The German international is almost guaranteed to be leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer, having revealed his intentions to take on a new challenge.
Gundogan is a talented midfielder and is able to carry the ball, something that has been a clear theme throughout these suggested midfielders.
It’s reported that Pep Guardiola is eyeing up a potential summer move for the Dortmund man once he joins Manchester City this summer, so the Gunners would have quite the battle on their hands to persuade Gundogan to join.