As the return of the Premier League looks unlikely until at least June, the club continues to use this pause to evaluate the transfer market. Mikel Arteta and Edu have spoken about having multiple plans for the upcoming transfer window based on how and when the current season is resolved. Expect one of the hot targets this summer to be Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi - unless Zinedine Zidane can convince him that his time as a La Liga starter is here.
According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo numerous top clubs across Europe are interested in signing Hakimi this summer. After a impressive year at Borussia Dortmund on loan and still facing a challenge to break into the Real Mardid starting XI, he has become a trendy transfer market target.
Club History: Hakimi came up through the Real Madrid academy system and B team, before joining the senior side in La Liga in 2017. Then for the past two seasons he has been out on loan at Dortmund.
Experience: 46 games in the Bundesliga, nine in La Liga, 15 in the Champions League and 28 in the third tier of Spanish football with Real Madrid B. Over that span of 98 matches Achraf has logged 12 goals and 25 assists.
International Level: 28 appearances and two goals for Morocco.
Position(s): Historically, Hakimi has featured as a right back most often. But this past season for Dortmund he also played as a right midfielder. His utility further raises his value having lined up as a left back and left midfield in the Bundesliga his past season as well.
Contract Situation: Expires June 2022.
Projected Value: $60 million
The Arsenal Situation
For the past few seasons the club has relied heavily on Hector Bellerin. He is a wonderful club representative on and off the pitch, but has suffered injury setbacks in the past few seasons. Which has forced Arsenal to move Ainsley Maitland-Niles into the emergency right-back role, use a past-his-prime Stephan Lichtsteiner, or push a centerback over.
Not ideal, especially with the amount of competitions the Gunners face each season. This winter Arsenal did a short term loan for Cedric Soares, who arrived injured and has yet to appear for the club. The club’s plans at right-back depth remain murky during this pause in action.
Further forward if Mikel Arteta begins to shift to a 4-3-3, how many experienced right midfield options would he have? AMN seems like an easy fit, as could Dani Ceballos, if he is signed from Madrid. But a new arrival capable of playing both right-back and right-midfield would ideal. Allowing Pepe and Reiss Nelson to remain as the two right wingers further forward.
A young international with experience in La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Champions League - with the ability to play in multiple positions - clearly makes him an ideal addition for Arsenal. The price tag and competition will prove an uphill battle as the Gunners are on the outside of CL positions looking in. However, one angle in their favor is Arteta’s ability to sell Hakimi on a starting role in his revitalized Arsenal.
If Achraf doesn’t have an in at Madrid and wants to start immediately, the stiffest competition would likely come from Dortmund seeking a permanent move. This wouldn’t be an easy transfer for Edu to pull off, but it would be a big win for improving the squad.