Arsenal target Ratcliffe ‘priority’ as Arteta ‘dreams of creating trivote’ with £68m La Liga star

Will Ford
Arteta Edu Arsenal
Mikel Arteta and Edu are working to line up Arsenal transfers this summer.

Mikel Arteta ‘dreams of creating a trivote’ in the Arsenal midfield including one of Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s summer transfer priorities.

The Gunners are still in the race for the Premier League title this season, and will claim the trophy if they win their remaining games against Manchester United and Everton and Manchester City drop points against either Tottenham or West Ham.

Arteta ‘dreams of trivote’

The arrival of Declan Rice from West Ham for £100m last summer has been key to the Magpies’ progress this term and the England international has been a near ever-present in midfield, along with captain Martin Odegaard.

But Arteta has rotated the third midfield role, with Jorginho, Thomas Partey and others failing to nail down the position amid reports that sporting director Edu has been considering targets this summer to fill the void.

A report on Saturday claimed they’ve emerged as ‘great favourites’ to land Martin Zubimendi from Real Sociedad, while Douglas Luiz and Bruno Guimaraes have also been linked.

But Fichajes claim that Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has now emerged as an option, as Arteta ‘dreams of creating a trivote’ (a high pressure midfield triangle) of Rice, Odegaard and De Jong, with the Dutchman seen as a ‘perfect option’ for the team.

Barcelona may be open to cashing-in on De Jong as they grapple with financial difficulties, and may demand around £70m for his services.

Arsenal may well face competition from Manchester United, who agreed a fee with Barcelona in the summer of 2022, only for De Jong to reject the move to Old Trafford.

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Bruno Fernandes swap?

But Spanish newspaper Nacional now claim that United have ‘offered a swap’ involving star player and captain Bruno Fernandes as they ‘continue to insist on the signing of’ De Jong from the Catalans.

The Netherlands international ‘still appears on Jim Ratcliffe’s list of priority objectives’, with United willing to ‘sacrifice’ Fernandes, ‘offering an exchange of parts, with money involved’.

United ‘do not want to pay’ the asking price for De Jong – €90m, as per this report – and have instead ‘offer compensation of €20m (£17m)’ plus Fernandes to get hold of their long-term target.

Fernandes for his part ‘would give the OK to Barca with his eyes closed’ and is ‘willing to lower his salary to be able to put himself under Xavi’s command’, while ‘convincing De Jong may be the most complicated part’.