The best time for clubs like Arsenal to improve is right now, when they’re at the top of their game. Not when things have gone off the boil a little and a few gaps need plugging.
Consistent demands from the players with competition for places should be a matter of course for the very top teams, and Arsenal continue to show that they belong in that bracket.
Mikel Arteta has proven beyond doubt that he’s the right manager for the current Gunners side, and to that end, his forays into the transfer market should be respected by supporters.
The fans might not always get the players that they want, but the Spaniard has an idea of how he wants his teams to play and as a result appears to only go after those players that he believes will fit into that style.
With Thomas Partey believed to be likely to move on at some point in the new year, there’s a need for another top-quality midfielder to come in to replace him, and one candidate isn’t all that far from the Emirates Stadium.
‘Joao Palhinha had an interview with DAZN Portugal and he was asked about Bayern, if he was still thinking about that collapsed transfer from the summer, and his answer was a simple ‘no, I’m moving on and focused on Fulham now. Then, we will see what happens in January,” Fabrizio Romano wrote in his exclusive Daily Briefing for CaughtOffside.
‘From what I understand, there’s very good conditions for João Palhinha to leave in January and sources at Bayern are very clear that they still like the player – but they won’t pay crazy money for him. Just to specify too that Bayern’s idea is not to invest something like €70m-€75m, they want a different price. So let’s see what’s going to happen.
‘The deal is still there to be done and this is an open race because Arsenal also appreciate the player. As I told you, Arsenal are looking at midfield and their top target is Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa, but Villa are doing wonderful and so it will be very difficult for Arsenal to convince Villa to sell.
‘That’s why there is a complete possibility for Arsenal to move onto other targets. Palhinha is appreciated but also very expensive, and so not an easy deal to do either. From what I’m hearing, another topic is that Arsenal want younger players, but let’s see what they can find on the market.’
The Telegraph (subscription required) note that Bayern had previously agreed a £60m fee, so any uplift from that summer arrangement isn’t going to go down well in Bavaria.
To that end, if there’s any chance whatsoever that Arsenal can nip in at the 11th hour, Arteta and sporting director, Edu, will be working overtime to make that happen.