Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that the club will look to bolster the central midfield department during the January transfer window.
The Gunners will be without Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny for the remainder of the month due to their African Cup of Nations commitments.
This leaves Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga as the specialist central midfield options as Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been loaned out to Roma.
Xhaka has been absent from training this week for an unspecified reason. This could potentially pave the way for a full senior debut for Charlie Patino.
Speaking in yesterday’s press conference, Arteta acknowledged that the club are ‘very short’ in midfield, and are going to look for options this month.
He told football.london: “We are going to move and we are going to look for options because we are very short there.”
Arteta will be working with limited choices in midfield. Partey and Elneny may not return until February if Ghana and Egypt reach the last four of AFCON.
It was anticipated that Ainsley Maitland-Niles could stay until a new midfielder is signed, but Arteta gave him the green light to secure his temporary move to Roma.
The club are now down to just Xhaka and Lokonga as the specialist senior options. It is a big blow if the former is out of contention against Nottingham Forest.
The Gunners travel to City Ground for Sunday’s late kick-off in the FA Cup third round.
Martin Odegaard or Emile Smith Rowe have played in central midfield. One of them could partner Lokonga if Arteta is reluctant to hand Patino his full debut.
The Gunners could be eyeing a temporary solution in the centre of the park. Paris Saint-Germain’s Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked in recent days.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
Read: FA Cup: Predicted Arsenal line-up vs Nottingham Forest.
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