Unai Emery has already added five new faces to his Arsenal squad ahead of his debut Premier League campaign but further recruits are being targeted.
With Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla having left on free transfers, and the future of Aaron Ramsey being far from certain, Emery is looking to bolster his midfield options – despite already landing Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
World Cup winner Steven N’Zonzi is Arsenal’s prime target, according to France Football, as the Gunners try to negotiate a deal for less than his £35 million (40 million euros) release clause as they do not want to pay such a high price for a player who is 29.
The way things are shaping up, this could be the defining Arsenal transfer saga in the final weeks of the window and his signature would provide a major impact on the squad.
Winner: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is currently in an incredibly turbulent situation after he quit Germany’s national side after becoming the scapegoat of his nation’s World Cup failure, citing racism as a major reason for his decision to move aside.
Having signed a lucrative new deal with Arsenal in January, Ozil is under pressure to perform for the Gunners and the situation in recent months will have only increased that – so having someone like N’Zonzi in the squad would be vital.
Sitting as a holding midfielder, likely alongside Uruguay international Torreira, that partnership would allow Ozil freedom in the final third, restricting the amount of work he has to do defensively – which is clearly something where Arsenal’s new number 10 struggles.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”
Loser: Mohamed Elneny
Mohamed Elneny only signed a long-term contract extension with Arsenal in March but the future of the Egypt international is already under intense speculation following Emery’s signings this summer – and landing N’Zonzi would surely oust him from the squad.
Elneny has had to fight with the likes of Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Wilshere for playing opportunities since his arrival from FC Basel in 2016 but the 26-year-old has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth for the Gunners.
His versatility is a tremendous asset for Arsenal but it may also be what is holding him back, as he is not first-choice in any midfield position and faces a stern task ahead of him if that is to change. However, that task would be impossible if N’Zonzi arrived at the Emirates Stadium.