Arsenal might have missed out on Houssem Aouar in the summer, but they are close to securing a cheaper alternative of the Lyon midfielder, according to reports. The Gunners submitted two bids for the Frenchman in the recently closed transfer window, with the second bid believed to be in the region of £35m. However, both offers were rejected by Lyon, because they were nowhere close to the Ligue 1 side’s valuation of Aouar.
Arsenal ultimately turned their attention to Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey and secured the Ghanaian’s services on deadline day for £45m. However, it was widely believed that Gunners manager Mikel Arteta still wanted to add Aouar to his squad and that the club are preparing to return for the player in January.
Acclaimed Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, though, has revealed that Arsenal are also interested in Dominik Szoboszlai of Red Bull Salzburg, who they consider to be a cheaper alternative to the Frenchman.
Szoboszlai would add much-needed creativity to the Arsenal midfield
Arsenal are closely monitoring the progress of the 20-year-old, who has appeared 71 times for the Austrian side, scoring 22 goals and recording 31 assists in the process. Szoboszlai reportedly adores the Premier League and the Gunners are expected to use that adulation to their advantage.
The Hungarian would provide a healthy dosage of creativity to the Arsenal midfield. And one man who believes that the Gunners desperately need some imagination in the middle of the park is former player Michael Thomas.
The ex-Arsenal midfielder believes that even though Arteta has added robustness to the team, it has led to a lack of creativity.
"Through Arteta giving the team a more robust look, it has come at a cost to the creative side of our game. The players are playing very rigid."
Thomas said that he would like more control from the Gunners midfield.
"You need to be able to control the ball in areas that the opposing team doesn’t want to be and suffocate them. I think this will change in time but it needs to be sooner rather than later."
The former player thinks Mesut Ozil is a great option, but his presence hurts Arsenal’s efficiency.
"Mesut Ozil obviously offers great creativity when he plays, but at what cost to the team’s efficiency?"
Thomas also said his former team are hurting from the lack of creativity while going forward.
"The team obviously needs more creativity going forward because they simply don’t have enough good efforts on goal. We are used to the frontline being played in behind, but recently everything seems to be in front of the opposition with no penetration or speed in the attacks."
And he believes that someone like Aouar could be the answer.
"Another creative outlet is very needed whether it be Aouar or someone else."
Arsenal have not given up hope of landing Aouar, but the Gunners are also monitoring Szoboszlai's progress and it remains to be seen if they add to their squad in January.
Published 30 Oct 2020, 22:29 IST