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Arsenal to renew interest in 26-year-old French star – Is this a right move by Arteta?

Why Arsenal must sign Nabil Fekir from Real Betis this summer

According to a report from Daily Star, Arsenal are set to renew their interest in Real Betis star Nabil Fekir as a potential replacement for Dani Ceballos.

The Gunners signed Dani Ceballos in the summer on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid. Ceballos has made 22 appearances across all competitions, registering two assists. However, the Spaniard will return to the Bernabeu in the summer, leaving the north Londoners light in midfield.

Nabil Fekir, 26, had interested Arsenal last summer but they turned down the opportunity to sign him before he left Lyon last summer. Prior to that, the Frenchman almost joined Liverpool in the summer of 2018 only for the deal to collapse at the last minute, the report adds.

Nabil Fekir (R) in action against Real Madrid (Getty Images)
Nabil Fekir (R) in action against Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Since moving to Real Betis, Fekir has been in good form, registering seven goals and six assists in 23 games across all competitions. With the 26-year-old having enjoyed an impressive debut season in La Liga till date, Arsenal must look to sign him in the summer.

The Gunners have still been an inconsistent lot despite the arrival of Mikel Arteta after their poor show early in the season. They have not lost a game under Arteta in the Premier League since the turn of the year. However, that does not define the whole story as they have not yet made any significant progress, with the side still struggling at 9th place in the table.

Arsenal have shortcomings in the squad and Arteta must plug the holes by bringing in quality players over the summer transfer window. One of the areas that needs reinforcement is the midfield, with Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock, Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos the only midfield options available to the Arsenal boss.

Dani Ceballos of Arsenal in action during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London. (Getty Images)
Dani Ceballos of Arsenal in action during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London. (Getty Images)

With Ceballos set to return to Real Madrid following the expiry of his loan spell, Arteta will be left with limited options in the midfield department. Thus, it’s a no-brainer to replace the Spanish midfielder at the end of the season and Nabil Fekir would be a good option.

An academy graduate of Lyon, Fekir was promoted to the senior team back in 2013. He didn’t look back after that and racked up 69 goals and 46 assists in 193 appearances for Lyon before leaving his boyhood club for Real Betis last summer.

The 26-year-old has performed really well in Betis colours, playing as a No.10 and on either flank. Such versatility could come handy for Arteta, who can use the player effectively. Also as Ozil is the only creative playmaker capable of constructing the team’s game, Fekir would add strength to the No.10 position.

Nabil Fekir during his time at Lyon (Getty Images)
Nabil Fekir during his time at Lyon. (Getty Images)

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The 26-year-old would not only add creativity to Arteta’s side but also bring goals, as evident from his numbers for Lyon. The French international is entering the prime stages of his career and would be a valuable addition to the Gunners’ attacking ranks if he shows quality.

Verdict

Without any second thoughts, Arsenal must attempt to sign Fekir as he could be Ceballos’ ideal like-to-like replacement.

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