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Arsenal reviving interest in this 22-year-old midfield dynamo from last summer would be a masterstroke

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Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should make a move for James Maddison

Back in May 2018, a report from Birmingham Mail claimed Arsenal were interested in signing James Maddison, who was then playing for Norwich City in the Championship. However, a move never materialised and instead, the 22-year-old joined Leicester City last summer.

James Maddison enjoyed a fantastic 2017/18 season in the Championship, although Norwich City failed to get promoted. His rip-roaring season in the Championship attracted a lot of Premier League interest but he made the move to Leicester ahead of the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Inside just a season in the Premier League, he has established himself as one of the exciting young talents of English football. Maddison is lighting up the top-flight, having already scored seven goals and created six assists in his debut season at King Power Stadium.

Despite having spent less than a year with Leicester, the English man looks bound for a top-six side. That being said, Arsenal surely should reignite their interest in Maddison and try signing him at the end of the season.

Aaron Ramsey is due to depart the Gunners this summer after he signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus at the turn of the year. Arsenal certainly will be on the lookout for a new midfielder to replace the departing Ramsey as Unai Emery looks to build a team capable of challenging for the title.

Mesut Ozil has been in and out of Emery’s team as the World Cup winner has failed to do his fair share of defensive work which his manager expects out of him. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has shown some form of late, although the Daily Mail claims Arsenal are keen to offload the Armenian in the summer to trim the squad’s wage bill.

Offloading Mkhitaryan as well as Ozil, if possible, should be a step in the right direction as they don’t quite fit in Emery’s system. Their sales will not only reduce the wage bill but also free up some funds which Emery should reinvest in signing Maddison from Leicester.

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Blessed with excellent technique, vision and ability to create things out of nothing, Maddison would be a perfect in Emery’s system at the Emirates.

Not only is he creative and has the capability to pick the right pass in the final third, but also his work-rate is commendable. Seemingly possessing a greater sharpness and good speed in the final third, the 22-year-old would be an excellent fix to the Gunners’ creative problems.

Verdict

There is no doubt that James Maddison has the talent to flourish at an elite European club, but will Arsenal make Leicester sell one of their prized assets after just a season? Only time will tell.

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Arsenal signing this 13-goal Ligue 1 attacker would do a world of good for the club’s displays in the final third

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Arsenal Opinion: Florian Thauvin would be the perfect summer business for Emery

According to claims from French source Foot Sur 7, Arsenal are interested in signing French international winger Florian Thauvin in the summer, with manager Unai Emery reportedly a big fan of the 26-year-old attacker.

Thauvin wants to leave Marseille in the summer and the report also adds that the Gunners would need to fend off interest from Roma, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and AC Milan if they are to land the Frenchman.

Thauvin endured an ill-fated spell at Newcastle United earlier in his career following a £15 million move from Marseille in the summer of 2015 where he failed to make any significant impact.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Unai Emery from pursuing a keen interest in the 2018 World Cup winner, who has rediscovered his mojo as a prolific goalscorer since returning to his homeland after his struggles at Tyneside.

Thauvin has rebuilt his reputation as one of the most feared attackers in the French top flight and has been in red-hot form in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 13 goals and setting up another 6 from 29 appearances in the league.

The Frenchman netted a staggering 26 goals in all competitions last season as Marseille reached the finals of the Europa League and he has continued his merry way this term as well, putting himself on the radar of some of the top clubs in Europe.

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Essentially a right-winger by trade, Florian Thauvin is a technically-gifted creative ace who is also capable of playing on the left and through the centre in a No.10 role.

Noted for his blistering pace, agility, athleticism, vision, creativity and mesmerizing dribbling skills, Thauvin boasts of excellent close control which allows him to run with the ball glued to his feet.

His ability to shift gears quickly and change directions in the blink of an eye combined with his trickery on the ball make him a potent threat down the flanks in the attacking third. One of his main attributes is his ability to dribble at good pace and he is more than capable of leaving the opposition flat-footed with sharp turns and jaw-dropping nutmegs.

Thauvin uses his stronger left foot to cut inside from the wings, either fancying a shot on goal or linking up with his teammates to create chances. To go with his obvious pace, flair and quality on the ball, the Frenchman also has the awareness to make subtle runs into the box to finish off chances.

Blessed with good vision and boasting of plenty of creativity in his armoury, Thauvin is also a recognised distance shooter and a clinical finisher inside the box.

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To put things into perspective, Arsenal have no reason to worry about Thauvin’s failure to make an impact in the Premier League earlier in his career at Newcastle.

He has blossomed into a world-class attacker in recent times and moving to a top club in England might bring the best out of him and help him take his career to the next level. A player of his calibre definitely deserves a second chance to prove himself and moving for him does make a lot of sense.

Arsenal have put up a strong challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League in their first season under Unai Emery, despite being handicapped by injuries to several of their key players at the back.

Having shown plenty of promise this season, the Gunners should look to consolidate under their new manager and bringing in some fresh faces would certainly do their cause a world of good.

With Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck set to depart for free in the summer and big-earners Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan failing to live up to the expectations, Arsenal should look to invest in new players. Denis Suarez has struggled to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League and making his loan move permanent would make little sense for Arsenal.

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Thauvin looks more like the real deal, though Arsenal would probably have to finish in the top four to have a realistic chance at a potential deal for the Frenchman.

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Arsenal would pull off a shrewd move by signing this 25-year-old Bundesliga powerhouse with £22m release clause

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Arsenal Opinion: Kerem Demirbay would be the perfect Ramsey replacement

According to Metro, Arsenal are interested in signing 25-year-old Hoffenheim midfielder Kerem Demirbay in the summer, as manager Unai Emery looks to find a cheap alternative to Aaron Ramsey, who is set to join Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The same report claims that the German-born, Turk-blooded central midfielder has a release clause of just £22million in his contract and Arsenal have already made contact with Hoffenheim over a potential deal in the summer.

The Gunners would need to fend off competition from several top Turkish clubs if they are to get their hands on the coveted Bundesliga playmaker. (h/t Metro)

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Kerem Demirbay is currently one of the most underrated midfielders in Europe and has been in terrific form for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga this season, helping his team to 6th in the standings.

The 25-year-old has contributed with 4 goals and 6 assists from 22 appearances in the league, all of those coming from a deep position in the midfield.

Demirbay represented Turkey at the youth level before switching his allegiance to represent Germany at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. He rose to prominence in the 2.Bundesliga with a 10-goal season for Fortuna Dusseldorf and his heroics earned him a move to top-flight outfit Hoffenheim in 2016.

He hasn’t looked back since then and has established himself as one of the mainstays of a side that has climbed up the pyramid very rapidly, making it to the Europa League and Champions League in successive seasons.

The 25-year-old boasts of an impressive tally of 12 goals and 24 assists from 84 appearances for Hoffenheim in all competitions.

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To put things into perspective, the acquisition of Kerem Demirbay would be an absolute steal for Arsenal in the summer as he seemingly has all the attributes to replace Ramsey.

With Mesut Ozil falling out of favour and Henrikh Mkhitaryan not living up to the expectations, Arsenal need to revamp their midfield options and a versatile and dynamic player like Demirbay would certainly help them solve a lot of problems.

Demirbay is a dynamic player in the sense that he can operate in No.6, No.8 and No.10 roles in the midfield but, much like Ramsey, the German is at his best when deployed in an attacking role.

Blessed with quick feet and remarkable speed of thought, Demirbay not only has the dribbling ability to find space in the middle of the park but he contributes a lot with his creativity and vision as well.

Known as a tenacious player with high levels of stamina, the 25-year-old is capable of adding energy to the midfield, while also possessing the ability to dictate the play with his impressive range of passing.

The German international carries the ball forward with pace and links up with his teammates to work the pockets of space and break the opposition’s lines.

To go with his creativity and goalscoring prowess, Demirbay is someone who offers a lot defensively as well, with his work-rate off the ball making him a complete all-round player.

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Gifted with a good understanding of the game and strong on the tackle, Demirbay likes to press the opposition off the ball and often succeeds in winning back possession for his team. Furthermore, he is a recognised distance shooter who has the ability to let fly from range with both feet.

The 25-year-old boasts of a pass success rate of 80.4, including 2.3 shots, 3,1 key passes, 2.1 dribbles and 2.1 tackles in the Bundesliga, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded attributes as a central midfielder.

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Arsenal pulled off a massive bargain with the signing of Matteo Guendouzi last summer and Kerem Demirbay is exactly the sort of player that the Gunners should look at as the German can offer good value for money, while also being a perfect fit for Emery’s philosophy. Having said that, they should go all out in their pursuit of the Bundesliga maestro in the summer.

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8 clearances, 2 tackles: This Arsenal defender was one of the main reasons behind the club’s 1-0 win vs Napoli

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Arsenal Opinion: Laurent Koscielny starred in a defensive masterclass against Napoli

Arsenal made it through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League with a 1-0 victory over Napoli in the second leg of the quarterfinal tie away at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday night, courtesy of a brilliant free-kick from Alexandre Lacazette.

Having won the first leg 2-0 at the Emirates last week, the Gunners carried a major advantage into the return leg and an away goal was always going to put the tie beyond Napoli’s reach.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were expected to put in a valiant effort to overturn the deficit on their home turf and it was Napoli who started off as the brighter of the two sides. Jose Callejon called veteran Petr Cech into action and the Serie A outfit registered a flurry of shots, only to be kept at bay by some resolute and stubborn defending from the Gunners.

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Emery fielded a back four against Watford on Monday but he reverted to his a back-three system against Napoli, with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles playing as wing-backs.

And it has to be said that the manager’s plan was executed to perfection by the likes of Koscielny, Sokratis and Monreal, though the latter did look a bit shaky on a few occasions.

On a night where Arsenal didn’t have much of the ball and Napoli largely dictated terms in the final third, the defenders looked content to sit back and absorb the pressure.

Arsenal have come under criticism at times for their porous backline this season but the defenders rose to the occasion as a unit and managed to protect the lead.

They were aided by some good goalkeeping from Petr Cech and some average shooting from the Napoli attackers, as evident from the stats which show that the Italians managed to get only 2 of their attempted 20 shots on target.

Arsenal had only 30% of the possession on the night but the Gunners had plenty of positives to take from their gritty performance. Prior to this game, it was hard to believe that Arsenal could, in fact, win games by defending deep and their strong defensive showing away from home is likely to be welcomed wholeheartedly by the club faithful.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has really come of age this season and the youngster put up another strong display on Thursday night but it was none other than club-captain Laurent Koscielny who led from the front by example and held things together at the back.

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Koscielny, 33, might be nearing the twilight of his career but he is currently enjoying a purple patch. Arsenal really missed his services earlier in the season when he was out injured and they now look a lot more secure at the back with their captain leading from the front.

Playing at the heart of a back three, Koscielny hardly made a single mistake under immense pressure from Napoli and dealt with almost everything that came his way. The Frenchman showcased great positional awareness and aerial prowess in an authoritative defensive display that spoke of pure class.

Koscielny registered a total of 8 clearances, 2 tackles and 1 interception, while also catching the opposition offside on 3 occasions.

Napoli were caught offside on 6 occasions throughout the ninety minutes and Koscielny ensured with his leadership qualities that his teammates all held a good line. Arsenal used the offside trap really well and Koscielny’s presence was pivotal to it.

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Arsenal are now set for a  semi-final showdown with Valencia in the Europa League and the Gunners will bank heavily on their club-captain to deliver the goods once again.

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