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Mikel Arteta makes decision on his No.1 Arsenal transfer target this summer


Mikel Arteta is hoping to oversee a major overhaul of Arsenal’s squad this summer (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta is hoping to oversee a near unprecedented overhaul of his Arsenal squad this summer and has already settled on his No.1 target.

The Spaniard retains the backing of the club’s hierarchy, despite a hugely underwhelming Premier League campaign which saw the Gunners finish in eighth position and fail to qualify for Europe for the first time in a quarter of a century.

An insipid display against Villarreal in the semi-final of the Europa League represented another blot on Arteta’s copybook, particularly given the way in which he was outwitted by his predecessor, Unai Emery.

Arsenal did, however, finish their domestic campaign with something of a flourish, winning five successive games, while the form of record signing Nicolas Pepe, who scored five times in four matches, offered a semblance of encouragement heading into a massive summer for the club.

The Gunners have already been linked with a number of different players but, according to The Athletic, Arteta has identified Martin Odegaard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal, as his primary target.

Martin Odegaard impressed Mikel Arteta during his loan spell at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Odegaard was effectively deemed surplus to requirements by Zinedine Zidane, but the Frenchman’s departure from Real Madrid this week could have a significant bearing on the gifted playmaker’s future.

For his part, Odegaard has regularly stated his contentment at Arsenal, having been afforded the regular first team football he craved.

Arteta, meanwhile, is said to value the 22-year-old’s leadership qualities and has been hugely impressed with Odegaard’s attitude over the course of a testing six months at the Emirates Stadium.

The uncertainty at Real, however, has forced Arsenal to consider alternatives with Norwich’s Emi Buendia firmly on their radar, having made enquiries to sign the Argentine in January.

Regardless, Arsenal will need to raise funds before they can make additions to their squad this summer and is appears as though Granit Xhaka will be the first player to head for the exit door.

New Roma boss Jose Mourinho is keen to sign the Switzerland international and talks between the two clubs are said to be underway with Arsenal holding out for a fee in the region of £20million.


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