Arsenal are lacking a serious amount of bite in central midfield, and it’s an area they are seriously lagging behind their rivals in.
Chelsea have N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, Spurs boast Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele, while Liverpool’s first-choice combination of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana is certainly more effective than Arsenal’s.
Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and others have all had chances in Arsene Wenger’s side, but who should the Frenchman be scouting in the summer, assuming he stays at the Emirates?
1. Oriol Romeu
First things first, Arsenal don’t need another diminutive midfielder. They need someone who can assert themselves, mop up loose ball and maintain discipline in central midfield.
That’s what Romeu can offer. While the Southampton man is not the calibre of player Arsenal fans will be hoping for in the summer, he would be an improvement on the current batch of midfielders the Gunners have.
2. Julian Weigl
The 21-year-old is already an important component in Dortmund’s attacking line-up, due to his strong passing abilities and appropriate concentration, the latter of which Arsenal’s midfielders seem to often lack.
Arsenal would likely have to fork out a large fee for Weigl, who’s been capped five times for Germany, but he would undoubtedly be worth that large fee.
3. Tiemoue Bakayoko
Bakayoko has been key in Monaco’s Ligue 1 and Champions League campaigns, and has subsequently been linked with a move to Arsenal.
The 22-year-old certainly fits the profile of player the north London club needs, with his strength in the air and in the tackle proving to be unmatched for a central midfielder in France this season.
4. Naby Keita
While Keita is likely to attract a whole load of interest from top European clubs this summer, Arsenal should still try to sign the Guinea international, given how good his form has been this season.
The RB Leipzig midfielder will probably move on to bigger and better things in the transfer window, with Bayern Munich heavily linked, but a switch to the Gunners would also arguably be a step up.
5. Leandro Paredes
The Argentinian has impressed this season, making 23 Serie A appearances for Roma and scoring three goals. Paredes was linked with Liverpool back in January but the club elected not to follow up their apparent interest.
Strong on set-pieces, adept at passing and not afraid to put a foot in, Wenger should target Parades in order to put some controlled bite back into his toothless midfield.
6. Blaise Matuidi
The 30-year-old has established himself as one of the finest central midfielders in Europe but could look for a new challenge in the summer should he want to experience a different league.
His box-to-box style could really help Arsenal, whose central midfielders rarely chip in with goals. While Matuidi is not especially prolific, his forward runs create space for team-mates and could benefit the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
7. Grzegorz Krychowiak
A lot more conservative than PSG team-mate Matuidi, Krychowiak would offer Arsenal the solid base they so desperately need.
The Poland international also knows what it’s like to win the Europa League, a competition Arsenal will likely be involved in next season, so his experience could definitely come in handy should he be signed from the French champions.