Arsenal identify cut-price January signing as Mikel Arteta eyes new forward

Arsenal have identified Dries Mertens as a potential January signing as Mikel Arteta looks to shake things up next month. Mertens is expected to be available for around £8.5m as Napoli appear unlikely to hand him a new contract.

Arsenal however could be battling Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich for his signature, according to Il Mattino who claim the three clubs are all interested in a deal for January.

Arsenal have had a poor season and sacked manager Unai Emery last month.

Mikel Arteta has finally been appointed and starts work today after Freddie Ljungberg’s disastrous caretaker reign.

Arteta has a big job on his hands after three years at Manchester City’s assistant and will be looking to make a handful of deals next month.

And it could start with a move for a new forward in Mertens, who can also play wide and may be a better fit to partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang than Alexandre Lacazette.

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Mertens, 32, has scored nine times for Napoli this season, five in the Champions League and four in Serie A but his time in Naples could be coming to an end.

Arsenal will be attracted by the fee and Arteta could look to shake things up in attack with record signing Nicolas Pepe disappointing so far.

Arteta also has a decision to make on Mesut Ozil who has really struggled this term and barely played under Emery.

Arteta has spoken positively about Ozil but will need more out of him than both Emery and Ljungberg got.

“He is a massive player for this football club,” said Arteta. “I worked with him, I know when he ticks, what he can bring to the team. It’s my job to get the best out of him.”

Ozil had already welcomed Arteta back to Arsenal on Twitter, when he wrote: “Welcome back to the Arsenal family.”


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But Ozil was left out of the squad to face Arsenal with an injury, but Ljungberg claims he would not have selected him anyway after the way he acted when he was subbed against Manchester City last week.

He said: “For me, I got asked after the game about Mesut.

“He walked off the pitch [in the Man City game] and then kicked his gloves. The fans were not happy.

“I got asked about it and said, ‘At Arsenal, that’s not how we behave and not what we do’. I stand by that.

“Mesut was injured, but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it’s not what I accept from an Arsenal football player.

“That’s my decision. I won’t make the decisions again, but that’s what I think.”