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£60m signing, two players depart - Arsenal midfield options at the end of summer transfer window

Eberechi Eze in action for England at Euro 2024
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Arsenal want to sign a new midfielder this summer. Mikel Arteta is hoping to bolster that area of the pitch as they prepare for another Premier League title challenge after missing out to Manchester City again last season. The Gunners narrowly finished second, two points behind City.

A name mentioned as a transfer target is Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze. According to the Guardian, the Gunners are interested in the 26-year-old, who scored 11 goals and provided six assists in 31 appearances last season. That form earned him a spot in the England squad at Euro 2024.

Eze, who has three years left on his contract, has a release clause in his contract worth around £60million and is attracting attention from the likes of north London rivals Tottenham, too. However, the lure of Champions League football could convince Eze to move to the Emirates Stadium instead.

Able to play anywhere across the front line, Eze can also play in central midfield and that is where he could be used if he did make the switch to Arsenal. It would be a 'dream' move for Arteta should he manage to convince someone of Eze's ability and quality to join the club. He would be a massive coup.

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As Arteta uses a midfield three with two advanced midfielders, Eze would likely be played in the left central midfield berth with Martin Odegaard on the other side. Alongside that, Eze does provide an option from the left wing if needed, while he can also fill in on the right hand side. It does feel like a no-brainer.

Eze could be joined by Spain international Mikel Merino in north London. It emerged on Tuesday morning that the Gunners are reportedly interested in the 28-year-old after impressing at Euro 2024. The midfielder scored the winner for Spain against Germany on Friday, netting in the 119th minute to send his nation into the semi-final.

A robust and powerful operator, Merino has been excellent for Real Sociedad over the past couple of years, and featured seven times in the Champions League last term. It's said Arteta is a big fan of the 'talent and physicality' Merino possesses and believes he can add an extra dimension to the Arsenal squad.

Another quality Merino possesses is being left-footed and would provide balance in a similar way that Granit Xhaka did before he left to join Bayer Leverkusen last summer. However, if Merino did join - as well as Eze - then it would be likely that he would operate as the left-sided central midfielder and the Palace man moves to support or even start on the wing. Even still, it does give Arteta more flexibility.

Having the ability to work with the likes of Eze, Merino, Odegaard, Jorginho and Declan Rice would be perfect for Arteta to try and build a title-winning midfield.

Although signing Eze and Merino does have its benefits, it means that the Gunners would more than likely have to sell one of, if not both Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe. The duo have been linked with moves away from the Emirates this summer. Due to turning 31 and having one year left on his contract, this could be the last chance for Arsenal to get decent cash for Partey, while Smith Rowe has been linked with a move to Premier League rivals Fulham and West Ham and is valued at around £25million.

Getting both Partey and Smith Rowe off the books would be a smart idea for Arteta, especially if he can replace them both with players of the quality and guile like Eze and Merino. It would mean that the Gunners have a well-balanced, technically-gifted and hard-working midfield department.