Mikel Arteta has stepped closer to emulating Pep Guardiola’s success at Arsenal, with the Gunners boss continuing to follow his mentor’s template.
The pair worked alongside one another at Manchester City for three years and, with many similarities between the the two sides’ tactical blueprints already, the next piece of the north London side puzzle is in Edu’ sights.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal have enquired about the availability of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez this summer. The 24-year-old, who sees his contract at The Johan Cruyff Arena expire in 2025, has been touted as Arteta’s top priority.
The Argentina international is said to be keen to pen a deal at the Emirates Stadium, though reports claim that the Dutch giants have already rejected a €30million (£25.8m) bid from Edu. However, the Gunners will reportedly persevere in their efforts to sign Martinez amid competition from Manchester United spearheaded by former boss Erik ten Hag.
Martinez’s versatility puts him in a similar bracket to Takehiro Tomiyasu, with the Argentine able to operate at left-back and defensive midfield, while predominantly plying his trade at centre-back. Reports suggest that the Eredivisie champions would entertain offers this summer, despite him having penned a new long-term deal last September.
So, if Arsenal can engineer a deal for Martinez, Arteta would be signing his very own Fernandinho, according to Stat Bomb. As pictured in the graphic below, the South American duo share a very similar profile when they feature in the No. 6 role.
Fernandinho has been the backbone to Guardiola’s success at the Etihad, and Martinez could grown into a similar role at the Emirates under Arteta. Arsenal already share several similarities with City regarding the tactical makeup of either side.
The future of the Gunners’ holding midfield role yet to be entirely cemented – whether it be due to injuries or absences – the Ajax utility man has emerged as an exciting option. With the Arsenal boss keen to spend big this summer too, Edu can build around the Argentine – as did Guardiola with Fernandinho.
When asked if he expects another busy transfer window in terms of player recruitment, Arteta said: “I am expecting so, yes. I think both competitions [the Champions League and Europa League] require a much larger squad because the amount of games you play is much bigger in both, so I don’t think [which you qualify for] makes a lot of difference or changes a lot.
“If you can financially afford it and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers. You have to come a long way in the aspects that you see on the pitch, it’s a lot of things that have to be put in place, and that takes time.”