A massive summer of change and transformation lies ahead for Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta.
After a below-par 2020/21 Premier League campaign, which saw the club finish eighth in the table and miss out on a place in Europe for the first time in 25 years, changes are in desperate need at the Emirates Stadium.
It is understood that Arteta, with the help of technical director Edu, wants to add five new faces to the squad, with a new goalkeeper, a right-back, a left-back, a central-midfielder and central attacking-midfielder all on Arteta’s wish list.
As well as the Spaniard being hopeful of bringing new faces into the club, he is also keen to cut his cloth and reduce the size of the squad, offloading those that no longer figure in his plans.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka is poised to be the first headline departure, with the Switzerland international on the cusp of sealing a £16million switch to Roma, linking up with former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho.
By offloading Xhaka, it will immediately add funds to Arteta’s transfer kitty and cut the Gunners’ wage bill, something which they are determined to do this summer.
Now, before Xhaka’s impending departure has even been confirmed, the Gunners, who will discover their fixture list for the 2021/22 Premier League campaign next week, have made their move to source a new midfield player, with reports in Italy saying that the north Londoners have opened discussions with Udinese about signing Rodrigo De Paul.
According to Italian journalist Ekrem Konur, as cited by the Express, Arsenal have initiated talks with Udinese about signing the Argentine, who was very heavily linked with a move to Leeds United last summer.
However, De Paul is not seen as a like-for-like replacement for Xhaka, with the Udinese star, who netted nine goals and claimed ten assists in Serie A this season, considered as a replacement for Dani Ceballos, who recently returned to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are desperate to add a more attack-minded midfielder to the squad this summer following Martin Odegaard’s return to the Spanish capital, meaning identifying a replacement for him, especially after missing out on Emiliano Buendia, is crucial.
De Paul is considered as a very talented and creative individual, with his statistics speaking for themselves. Since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, the 27-year-old has scored 16 goals and claimed 18 assists in all competitions.
Get the latest Arsenal transfer news straight to your inbox
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
By signing up to our newsletter here, you’ll be kept up to date on the latest news and rumours as they break, all in one place. You’ll also receive exclusive insight and articles from club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak, all for free.
We also want to hear from you. Create an account here in just a few moments, so you can have your say on all things Arsenal, join the debate and take part in exclusive Q&As as well.
Last month, De Paul was quizzed on his future and admitted that he was currently happy at Udinese.
“There’s been a lot of talk but I’m relaxed about it,” he told The Athletic. “My focus is on the next game, it’s not easy to leave here.
“At Udinese, it’s a family, the club provides you with everything even the simplest things so you can concentrate on your football.”
The midfielder has three years remaining on his contract in Italy.