Arsenal are being linked with a number of big names in the transfer market this summer, but it could be argued that the two most important deals they could strike involve players already at the club.
The Gunners will of course want to keep club captain and top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but they would also do well to extend the loan of Dani Ceballos, or sign him permanently from Real Madrid.
After such an impressive run of form for Arsenal, however, Ceballos will surely have won himself a few admirers at the Bernabeu, where a long-term Luka Modric replacement is needed.
Ceballos could be ideal for that role, and if the Spain international heads back to Madrid, Arsenal will have to be prepared.
Here’s our list of five players who’d make very decent alternatives to Ceballos if his time at the Emirates Stadium comes to an end this summer…
With a year to run on his contract at Bayern Munich, Thiago Alcantara would surely be available at a reasonable price and could fill a similar role to Ceballos at Arsenal.
The 29-year-old also comes with plenty of experience, having won almost all there is to win in the game after a great career at Bayern, Barcelona and with the Spanish national team.
Alcantara was a Champions League winner at Barca, and has won an impressive seven Bundesliga titles at the Allianz Arena – the kind of winning know-how that could be very useful in this slightly inexperienced Arsenal squad.
Arsenal have a well-documented interest in Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, with CaughtOffside understanding he’s among Mikel Arteta’s preferred targets this summer, though his team-mate Saul Niguez could also be a fine purchase.
The Gunners may find Saul is a somewhat more ambitious target, but he’s a similar style of player to Ceballos and it might well be that he’s coming to a point in his career where he’d be tempted by a new challenge.
Arsenal could do well to try to lure him to London with the chance to play in one of the best leagues in the world and form part of what looks like an improving side under promising young manager Arteta.
A slightly underrated player, Hakan Calhanoglu has had a fine season for AC Milan and has long looked like a player with real quality on the ball.
The Turkey international previously caught the eye as a youngster at Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg, earning the reputation as something of a dead-ball specialist.
Calhanoglu is so much more than that, however, with his great range of passing making him ideal for the kind of football Arteta wants to play.