Mikel Arteta calls the first half of the season ‘extraordinary’
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Arsenal have been active in the January transfer window to bolster Mikel Arteta’s squad as he pursues the Premier League title. Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior have joined for a combined £48million from Brighton and Hove Albion and Spezia, respectively, but Arteta may not be done there.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Gunners boss explained that Kiwior provides much-needed cover after running short on centre-backs in the first half of the season.
And he suggested that if any other opportunities arise in the final days of the transfer window, Arsenal would react to strengthen further.
He said: “Well, [Kiwior] gives us more cover. Obviously, we’ve had three central defenders for the first part of the season, which is very, very short.
“We’ve been lucky with injuries, so we needed to recruit in that position. We’ve done it.
“Jakub can play in different roles and is a versatile player and is going to strengthen the team. If there is anything else available that can make us better, we will look at it.”
Express Sport takes a look at what exactly Arteta could be planning ahead of the winter deadline, including one short-term and one longer-term arrival.
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Ivan Fresneda decision
Arsenal are strongly linked with Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda, joining Borussia Dortmund at the centre of the frame. According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have been waiting to confirm Cedric Soares’ departure to Fulham before making their move.
And with Cedric now set to join their London rivals, the Gunners have been given 48 hours to make a decision. Valladolid want £13m to part ways with Fresneda and would ideally want him to remain on loan until the end of the season.
Arteta can seal signing three by quickly deciding to sanction a pursuit to beat Dortmund to the 18-year-old’s signature. The Bundesliga giants are said to be pushing to complete a deal and are open to loan him back to Spain until July, with one more German club interested.
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The Mail report that earlier this month, Arsenal reached an agreement with Real Sociedad to trigger Martin Zubimendi’s £52.5m release clause. However, the 23-year-old midfielder wants to continue at his hometown club until the summer, a desire the Gunners will respect.
That said, Arsenal can proactively confirm to La Real president Jokin Aperribay that they will pay the fee once the summer transfer window opens, essentially coming to a pre-contract agreement.
It’s claimed that Zubimendi is ready to snub Barcelona for a move to the Emirates Stadium at the end of the campaign, with his ‘heart set on Arsenal’. Arteta can secure the signings of Fresneda and Zubimendi this month but add them to his squad later in the year.
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