The central midfield position has been Arsenal’s area of need for what feels like forever. It seems that Arsenal always manage to have either quality or depth in the middle of the pitch, but never both at the same time. Between AFCON, loans, COVID, and now discipline, thanks to Granit Xhaka earning a two-match band for a decidedly dumb thing during Thursday’s EFL match against Liverpool, Arsenal have neither at the moment. With a North London Derby ripe with top four implications just days away, to say that there is cause for concern in the midfield would be a gross understatement.
And yet, not all hope is lost. On Wednesday, reports began to surface about a loan move for Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo. Despite the relative recency of the rumor, it appears that Arsenal are putting on a full-court press, as the club is pushing to secure the loan by mid-day on Friday in order to register the midfielder for Sunday’s match against Tottenham.
Arsenal have accelerated talks to sign Arthur Melo on loan in the past few hours.— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 13, 2022
He’ll have to be registered by midday tomorrow in order to be involved against Tottenham on Sunday.https://t.co/bwS9EeCpCe
Although specifics are unclear at the moment, the loan seems like a smart move. Arthur is a quality player, and while his form has dipped since his departure from Barcelona in 2018, his talent is evident. He is versatile enough to slot in as a box-to-box or holding midfielder and seasoned enough to be thrown into the thick of it out of the gate. Moreover, he is supposedly eager to facilitate the move, which is refreshing as the never-ending Dusan Vlahovic saga continues to spiral into perpetuity.
But no transfer is ever simple with Arsenal. Juve, understandably, want to have a replacement in line before they give the loan the green light. If that issue is unresolved, the Italian giants might not be willing to play ball.
Bringing in Arthur would be great from a general need standpoint, but if Arsenal can pull off the loan in time, it will be a major step toward keeping their top four hopes alive. As it stands, Arsenal’s first team midfield options for the pivot are Sambi Lokonga and either one of Ben White of Calum Chambers, which is...ok it’s a bit of a ‘mare. The sooner cover can arrive, the better.
Expect this situation to be the focal point of Arsenal’s transfer rumors on Friday. Can Arteta and Edu pull off an 11th Hour miracle? Here’s hoping.