Arsenal are starting to explore loan options as they seek a new creative midfielder to boost their campaign.
The club have been extremely impressed by the performances of 20-year-old Emile Smith Rowe, who will continue to get game time, but feel it is unfair to rely on him to provide inspiration on a weekly basis.
A host of big names have been lined up to join the club but since top target Dominik Szoboszlai joined RB Leipzig they have been forced to reconsider how they attack the window.
The club cannot go on a big spending spree and have been put off a move for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar for now. They would love to sign Emi Buendia from Norwich but expected his price tag to be no higher than £25 million, and currently that does not seem likely. Norwich have stuck a £40m valuation on him. They are not giving up on the situation just yet, though.
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They have been credited with interest in Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen and Real Madrid’s Isco, but neither of those are being pursued.
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Julian Draxler is a player the club have scouted extensively from PSG but some sources feel the fact he was also a target under Arsene Wenger is just one of the reasons a deal is not likely. Mikel Arteta very much wants to put his own mark on this squad as they move forward.
Julian Brandt of Borussia Dortmund has seemed a slightly more realistic option, given he has struggled for form and has been out of favour in Bundesliga. That situation will be revisited in the coming weeks to see if he could be available on a short-term deal.
But Arsenal are also casting a wider net now to see who else with experience and guile is becoming available to boost their attacking options in the second half of the season.
A loan ranger?
Ideally the club are looking for a player aged 24-29 who can improve their creativity and goal output and also aid the development of Smith Rowe. The club are adamant they will not panic buy and that is why a loan is starting to look like a more realistic option if they do sign an attacking midfielder in this window.
This all comes at a time when they wait on Mesut Ozil to make a decision on his immediate future. The player has always stated he will see out his contract but is now willing to leave to join Fenerbahce if he can reach an agreement with Arsenal over payments for the remainder of his contract.
Fenerbahce have been linked with the player for the past two years but it was always a doubt whether they could afford him. It is understood that the club now have funding being put in place to help them secure a deal to help Ozil return to action.