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Report: Arsenal eye move for 20-year-old who plays just like the third-best player in the world

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According to CalcioMercato, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has added Empoli midfielder Samuele Ricci to his transfer shortlist as we head into the final week of the window.

After a fantastic December where the Gunners were absolutely incredible, January handed Arsenal a harsh reality check. Arsenal are yet to win a game in 2022 and that is a massive concern.

The midfield is the area where Arteta needs the most help. Arsenal have been extremely light in the middle of the park since the start of this month, and although most of their players will be back when they next play, they still need another top-quality addition.

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The likes of Arthur Melo have been linked, but that deal is proving to be difficult to complete. As a result, Arteta and Edu have turned their attention to a youngster from the same league.

Arsenal add Empoli’s Samuele Ricci to their transfer shortlist

Ricci has been a regular in the Serie A this season. The midfielder, still only 20, has played 24 games in all competitions for Empoli this term and has been one of their most impressive players.

In his 21 league games this season, the Italian has averaged 54.8 passes per game and has maintained a stunning 90 per cent passing accuracy. He also averages 1.6 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game and hasn’t committed an error leading to a goal or even a shot at goal all season. (SofaScore)

Still only 20, the Italian is a fine prospect and Arsenal have shown that their transfer strategy is to buy young players and make them fulfil their potential at the Emirates. Ricci certainly checks that box and it won’t be a surprise to see Edu and Arteta lure him in before the end of the window.

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Compared to Jorginho

Ricci only stands at 5ft 7in tall and is by no means a powerhouse in defensive midfield. However, he is technically very good and has the vision to pick out brilliant passes from a deeper position.

That has made people in Italy compare him to Chelsea midfielder and Euro 2020 winner Jorginho, who was voted as the third-best footballer on the planet in Ballon d’Or 2021, only behind Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.

That is an incredible compliment for someone so young, but Ricci still has a lot to learn before he can be as good as Jorginho. That could be a dealbreaker for Arsenal as they need someone who will come in and hit the ground running much more than a player for the future.

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