Arsenal solutions to Mikel Arteta issue after failed Douglas Luiz move

Erik ten Hag looking forward to 'tough opponents' Arsenal

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Arsenal will be forced to go back to the drawing board to solve their injury problems in midfield after missing out on a deadline-day move for Aston Villa playmaker Douglas Luiz. The Gunners tabled as many as three bids for the Brazilian maestro but were knocked back every time by Villa, who were in no mood to sell their prized asset before Thursday’s all-important transfer deadline.

Mikel Arteta was believed to be keen on signing a new midfielder in order to boost his options in the middle of the park, with Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey currently sidelined as things stand. However, the Spaniard will instead be forced to work with the players already at his disposal after failing to land Luiz, who was keen on making the switch to the Emirates Stadium but was ultimately denied by his current employers.

The obvious choice would be to play Albert Sambi Lokonga alongside Granit Xhaka in the engine room for the trip to Manchester United on Sunday. Lokonga joined Arsenal from Anderlecht a year ago and showed flashes of brilliance during the first few months of last season but has since been reduced to a bit-part role, with Partey having been the first-choice option to partner Xhaka in midfield as of late.

Lokonga is more than capable of doing a job for Arsenal in the absences of Partey and Elneny, though, and may well be handed a starting berth at Old Trafford over the weekend. Another option would be to deploy Fabio Vieira in midfield alongside Xhaka following his £31million move to Arsenal from Porto at the start of the summer window.

JUST IN: Arsenal chief Edu ‘to chase £86m transfer in January’ after enquiry

The 22-year-old is very much seen as one for the future by Arteta and is yet to make a single Premier League appearance for the Gunners, but could be motivated by the chance to stamp his authority if he is selected to fill the void left by the injuries to his team-mates. However, Arteta may also be tempted to overlook the inexperienced duo of Lokonga and Vieira by moving one of his established first-team stars out of position to plug the gap in the middle of the pitch.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has been deployed at left-back since joining Arsenal from Manchester City in the summer but is known to see himself as a natural midfielder and could be moved up the pitch to feature alongside Xhaka at Old Trafford on Sunday. Kieran Tierney would then come in on the left of Arsenal’s back four, but it remains to be seen whether Arteta will opt to fill round holes with square pegs in this manner.

The Arsenal boss could also decide to use Ben White in midfield and replace him at right-back with Takehiro Tomiasyu, although the England international has not played in the position since his final season at Brighton. Arteta insisted that it would be difficult to replace Partey and Elneny over the next few weeks when quizzed on the situation on Wednesday before admitting that he was still in the market to sign a new midfielder, which he was ultimately unable to do before Thursday’s deadline.

“That’s not good news, he still needs to see a specialist but I’m afraid we’re going to lose Mo for a while,” said Arteta about Elneny.

“[Elneny’s injury] has an impact because also Thomas is injured, and we are a bit short in that position. We have Sambi, players like Granit can play there, but we are looking at options in the market.

“The club has been super supportive to try to keep improving the team and the squad as we can. If the right player is there and we can do it, we will try.”

Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clicking here

Source: Read Full Article