Arsenal

Arsenal could sign “the best midfielder in the world” to partner Rice

In the minds of supporters, Arsenal are never too far away from a crisis. The truth is, they couldn’t be further from that.

The Gunners may have tasted back-to-back defeats in the Premier League but they are still in with an excellent chance of winning the title this season.
It will take an almighty effort to usurp Manchester City and Liverpool but perhaps doing the chasing, rather than the pace-setting as they did last term could be beneficial.
What will certainly be advantageous is using the recently opened transfer window. A striker is reportedly a priority but there have also been murmurings that the midfield could be strengthened.

Arsenal’s midfield targets for 2024

Last year it was abundantly that Arsenal wanted to sign two mega-money midfielders. Edu and Co went after Moises Caicedo a year ago, only for him to remain at Brighton and then subsequently move to Chelsea in the summer.

Jorginho arrived to little fanfare but the £105m transfer of Declan Rice was a time of jubilance for those at the Emirates Stadium.
Kai Havertz also walked through the door but his transfer hasn’t quite been a big success story. As a result, the likes of Joao Palhinha at Fulham and Martin Zubimendi at Real Sociedad have been linked.

However, the most exciting rumour comes courtesy of reports in Spain that suggest Arsenal are interested in Barcelona superstar Pedri.
One report claims that the Gunners, alongside Manchester City and Bayern Munich have registered their desire to sign the player for next season. Alleged injury problems have put his future with the La Liga giants under threat.

Why Pedri would benefit Declan Rice

Make no mistake about it, Pedri is one of the most elite young players in the world. Football writer Muhammad Butt proclaimed earlier this year that the Spaniard is simply “the best midfielder in the world” while The Telegraph’s Sam Dean waxed lyrical nearly three years ago, describing the now 21-year-old as “a midfield sensation.”

The Barcelona superstar burst onto the scene as a spritely teenager and since his breakout campaign in 2020/21 after signing from Las Palmas has already played 120 times for the Catalan club. For a guy so young that’s remarkable.
He boasts an enormous valuation of £87m – as per CIES Football Observatory – but you could bet Barca will be asking for a lot more if they did ever sanction a sale. After all, this is a player that former Gunners Cesc Fabregas backed to follow in the footsteps of Xavi and Iniesta, alongside fellow youngster Gavi.
If Pedri did arrive at Arsenal then it’s likely he’d be fielded in that left ‘8’ role. He wouldn’t be the natural successor for Xhaka – he has just 17 goals for Barca – but his poise, elegance and technical ability would provide the perfect tonic to Declan Rice’s more gung-ho approach.
Rice also has an elegance to his game but he’s far more likely to go through a player and make lung-busting run forward than the young Spaniard. You only need to asses how their respective games match up to understand their different qualities.
As we can see, the two midfield players are essentially the perfect tonic for each other. While Rice thrives in the defensive phases of play, making a higher number of tackles and interceptions, alongside a neater pass success rate, Pedri will impact proceedings in the final third more often.

The Spain international plays more key passes and registers more shot-creating actions – pieces of play that lead to a shot – meaning his creativity is certainly better than the former West Ham man.
Pedri won’t score a bucketload of goals but his ability to open up a defence could be just what Mikel Arteta’s side needs to break down an opposition defence who sit in a low block.

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