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In late December, PSV winger Hirving Lozano became a shock target for Arsenal. The 22-year old South American winger was thought to be the perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez, but Arsenal were aiming higher – much, much higher!
Reports revealed that he was a Sven Mislintat recommendation, and has come highly regarded by Arsenal’s new head of recruitment. Mislintat had apparently watched him with the intention of bringing him to Dortmund, and brought that desire with him to North London.
The move didn’t happen, as Arsenal opted for the world class pairing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but it appears the deal could be resurrected this summer. Is he what Arsenal need at this time?
Competition for places in Arsenal’s starting XI is tough, but with a full calendar of fixtures and injuries to take into consideration, it’s important to look past the strongest eleven. To compete, you need strength in depth, as Manchester City have shown this season.
Following the sales of Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal need reinforcements in the wide areas, and Hirving Lozano would offer that. Since arriving in Holland in the summer, he has earned a reputation as a tricky, goal scoring winger who is capable of beating his man and finishing with style; cut from the same cloth as Alexis Sanchez.
With only 23 senior players in the current Arsenal squad, strength in depth is a real weakness, and an injury to Mkhitaryan or another bout of man flu for Ozil, could derail their form. Alex Iwobi’s form has improved, but he isn’t of the quality required to compete for the title, and Danny Welbeck is a mid-table player at best – one of the worst to play for Arsenal in recent years.
PSV were reportedly valuing Lozano at £50m in January, a time when inflation kicks in and Arsenal’s desperation was evident. Come the summer, transfer fees should stabilise, although they will still be excessive, and Lozano’s value will probably sit around the £20-25m mark. Arsenal will also be in a much stronger negotiating position as they have the power to walk away if they do not agree a fair price.
Defensive additions will, and MUST, be Arsene Wenger’s priority this summer if he wants to mount a serious title challenge in his final year as Arsenal boss. Reports have emerged that Mislintatis currently working on defensive additions, with the club keen to get deals wrapped up early, thus avoiding the deadline day bottleneck.
If these deals can be tied up early, at the right prices, and Hirving Lozano is available at a decent price, this could be a deal that Arsenal look at doing. He will certainly be on a list that includes Malcom and Christian Pulisic. Watch this space.