Mikel Arteta is ‘enjoying the moment’ as Arsenal open up five-point lead
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is set to be backed with two January deals as the club’s board look to give him the best chance of pipping Manchester City to the Premier League title. The World Cup break gives the Gunners several quiet weeks to plan for after the New Year, with City not expected to add to their squad.
Significant business was conducted over the summer with Fabio Vieira signing from Porto and William Saliba returning from a series of loan spells in Ligue 1. Crucially, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko were also nabbed from title rivals City as Arsenal’s overall spend came in at well over £100million.
Even so, rumours linking the Gunners to wingers and midfielders persisted right up until deadline day. Having missed out on both fronts, reports indicate that the Arsenal board are prepared to bring out their chequebook to finish the work they started in the summer.
ESPN claim that Arteta will be allowed to bring in a new central midfielder and a winger during the January transfer window as the possibility of winning the Premier League becomes increasingly realistic.
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Palmeiras midfielder Danilo supposedly tops the midfield wish list after it emerged that the Brazilian outfit would be likely to accept a bid in the region of £20.6million. They are thought to have inquired during the summer but Palmeiras did not want to sell and disrupt their own title-chasing campaign.
A revived pursuit in January could therefore come with a better chance of success, although Arsenal will face stern transfer competition from Ajax and Monaco. “I see myself mature enough to be able to play in any competition in the world, I’m ready,” Danilo told UOL Sport.
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“Palmeiras helped me a lot, from the off, with [director] Joao Paulo [Sampaio]. And I kept my mentality strong with the arrival of Abel [Ferreira]. I prefer not to get involved with these transfer issues. I told my agent to only talk to me if it’s the right thing. Then we sit down and talk to Palmeiras and decide what’s best for everyone.”
A winger may also boost Arteta’s chance of lifting the Premier League with the Gunners benefitting from a stable starting XI but lacking strength in depth. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have starred on either flank so far this campaign but there appears to be a significant drop-off to back-up options Reiss Nelson and Marquinhos, with Emile Smith Rowe out injured.
Wolves wide-man Pedro Neto was strongly linked to the Emirates during the summer, while Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha and Villarreal youngster Yeremy Pino have also been mentioned regarding the potential vacancy.
Arsenal were generally unfancied for the title at the start of the season after missing out on the top four in 2022/23, but a run of just one defeat in their opening 14 Premier League games this term has left them five points clear of City during the World Cup break.
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