The competition for places in the Arsenal first team is a breath of fresh air after years of players becoming far too comfortable and seeing their performances suffer because of it.
Mikel Arteta has cultivated a competitive environment for his squad and players who were once obvious starters in the side have become benchwarmers desperately fighting to earn their place back in the Arsenal team.
Even a player of Emile Smith Rowe’s quality currently sits on the Arsenal bench. The England international had been operating on the left-flank, however, the rise of Gabriel Martinelli has ended that run. With the continued strong performances of the Brazilian, a route back looks difficult.
Smith Rowe has still made an impact from the bench scoring three goals in three matches as a substitute against West Ham, Leeds United and Norwich City.
However, the competition for the attacking midfield and left flank could about to become even more intense with reports suggesting that Arsenal are about to make a move for yet another attacking midfielder.
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Journalist Albert Roge, a specialist in the news surrounding Barcelona and the academy La Masia who reports for Spanish outlet Sport, claims that there is genuine truth in the links with the north London side to Philippe Coutinho. More than this, the Gunners are considering a loan for the player this January.
“The English club is considering a loan without a compulsory purchase option,” he writes.
He continues to go on to say that the player would need to lower his wage demands or Barcelona would also need to subsidise some of his pay package.
Coutinho has been linked with Arsenal for some time and the consistent response from the majority of the Arsenal fan base has been to reject the proposal.
With the aforementioned Smith-Rowe and Martin Odegaard, Arsenal are well stocked in the position plus the rise of Charlie Patino is something supporters do not want to see blocked.
Arsenal have changed their tactics in the market under Edu. The technical director has switched from signing players in the age bracket of David Luiz, Cedric and Willian to shrewder and younger options.
Six signings were made in the summer for players aged 23 or under. All the players have had a significant impact on Arsenal’s performances this season finding a place in Arteta’s squad.
To sign Coutinho would go against that trend, even if the move is a six-month loan deal.
Arsenal also have far more pressing needs to target in central midfield and striker. To invest in attacking midfield over these areas would be ill-advised considering the club’s needs.
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