It was a difficult season to evaluate for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, his side going on a five-game unbeaten run domestically at the end of the season to finish eighth. A poor start to the season and some indifferent form of key players left them in the bottom half of the Premier League for the majority of the 2020/21 season.
Signings could now be hard to arrange this summer having missed out on European football for next season. Already reports they were interested in Norwich City player Emi Buendia have ended after his move to Aston Villa, and interest in bringing Martin Odegaard back to the Emirates has been stalled due to price as well as the change in manager at Real Madrid.
Emile Smith Rowe performed well when called upon in the attacking midfield role, though Arteta will need to strengthen this area for the new season in order to compete for European places.
One player currently being linked with the North London side is Turkish International Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan. His contract is expiring at the end of June and there has been no confirmation of him resigning with the Italian giants.
What Can He Bring To Arsenal?
The 27-year-old is flexible number 10, able to play wide left when necessary and cut inside onto his favoured right foot. His ability to find accurate and intricate through passes will be of interest to a side with pace up-front in the shape of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Often likened to Mesut Ozil, Calhanoglu is not blessed with electric pace but has shown an ability to work hard off of the ball which Ozil didn’t show much of, especially in the latter stages of his Arsenal career.
Arteta’s attacking style centres around movement and finding space in the final third, which Calhanoglu could be key to orchestrating in behind the centre forward. He has shown the ability to play quick, change of emphasis passes as well as carry the ball forward and drive at defenders.
He is able to switch play well and alter the direction of an attack, though, a weakness may be that often his long passes are played to feet/chest rather than for the receiver to run on to, this can at times slow the play down.
With reports that Granit Xhaka could be on his way to AS Roma, Calhanoglu would be a useful addition in terms of set-piece delivery. He has a good ability to deliver crosses as well as be a threat from direct free kicks.
He arrived at AC Milan back in 2017 and has a successful four year period with the club, scoring 32 goals and 171 matches for the Serie A side. He has been a key part of the side for the four years he has been there and it is interesting to think AC Milan would allow Calhanoglu to leave on a free after spending around €24 million on him from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017.
AC Milan may be waiting on reported interest in bringing Brahim Diaz back on loan before deciding on committing to a contract to Calhanoglu, though as June goes on, interest will be high in the Turkish International.
With the Euro’s set to start this Friday, Calhanoglu and his Turkish team-mates will take on Italy in the opening game. Arsenal, if serious about their interest, should look to act fast as sides with European football next year will undoubtedly be monitoring Calhanoglu this summer.
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