Mikel Arteta can avoid a potential headache at Arsenal by reviving the Gunners’ interest in Denis Zakaria, before Roma agree a transfer for the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder.
Arteta faces an uncomfortable winter at the Emirates Stadium as doubt starts to grow over his engine room. The Sun reported last week that Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are considering their futures, as neither have forged key roles so far this season.
The pair leaving north London risks handing Arteta a nightmare with Thomas Partey set to compete at AFCON in January. The Ghanaian’s temporary absence will leave Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga as the Spaniard’s only natural options in midfield.
Arteta wants Elneny to stay, but Arsenal will consider sanctioning a mid-season transfer to avoid him leaving for free. The Egyptian is out of contract at the end of the campaign, and discussions over new terms have proven unsuccessful.
Zakaria may be the answer to Arteta’s potential headache, however, after Arsenal explored signing the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder this summer. That’s per The Mirror, who reported in July the 24-year-old was the top candidate to replace then-Roma target Xhaka.
Roma are still in the market for new midfielders after Xhaka stayed at Arsenal, and are now keen on Zakaria. Corriere dello Sport claim the Swiss is their top target and he is open to joining Jose Mourinho’s side. And with his contract expiring next summer, would be cheap.
The Giallorossi will offer €5m-6m (£4m-5m) plus a percentage of any future fee in January to avoid missing out on a free next summer. CEO Tiago Pinto has also spoken with Zakaria’s agent over moving to the Serie A and potential wages on several occasions.
Should Arsenal revive transfer interest in Zakaria in January?
Corriere dello Sport add Zakaria has several suitors in the Premier League and Bundesliga after rejecting multiple offers from Monchengladbach to remain at Borussia-Park. Arteta should see that Arsenal are one of the clubs fighting Roma for the transfer of Zakaria.
Zakaria would ease any concerns over Arteta facing a selection headache if Elneny and/or Maitland-Niles leave Arsenal in January transfers. Xhaka’s international teammate is a commanding box-to-box operator, who covers hard yards to make an impact at both ends.
The Swiss has two goals and an assist after five appearances for Monchengladbach so far this season. Eclipsing his 2020/21 record of one goal and an assist in 32 games. And further delivering on his former BSC Young Boys coach, Uli Forte’s praise.
“He is an incredible box-to-box [player],” Forte said, via Mondo Napoli. “He has exceptional technique and grinds kilometres. All his characteristics were appreciated from a very young age, and he made his debut at the age of 18. He has offers from England, he has the right characteristics for the Premier.
“He will become a devastating player. Zakaria is a champion and has characteristics more or less similar to [Napoli midfielder Diego] Demme. Quantity, but a lot of quality.”