Mikel Arteta facing double Arsenal transfer blow as ‘versatile’ ploy backfires

Arsenal are in danger of missing out on not one but two key transfer targets this summer as their hopes of landing Lisandro Martinez and Aaron Hickey hang by a thread

Just as the stars appeared to be aligning for Arsenal in the current transfer window, ominous storm clouds have begun to gather.

Having moved swiftly to snap up Matt Turner, Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira, in addition to agreeing a deal with Manchester City for top target Gabriel Jesus, the Gunners ensured there were several other promising irons in the fire. All was positive of the Raphinha and Lisandro Martinez fronts, too.

But so quickly can the picture change in football – particularly when it comes to transfers. Chelsea and Barcelona appear to have put pay to the notion Raphinha could join Mikel Arteta ‘s ranks this summer while a move for Martinez is in danger of being hijacked by Manchester United. That’s not all though: Arsenal are now set to miss out on a third target, and it could well come as a result of Arteta’s ploy to prioritise versatility.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock (12852903ae)
Lisandro Martinez of Ajax
Ajax v Benfica, EFA Champions League, Round of 16, Second Leg, Football, Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 15 Mar 2022

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At the start of the summer, it seemed for all the world that the Gunners would be the team to coax Bologna’s Aaron Hickey back to British shores. The 20-year-old Scot has seen his stock rise significantly since swapping his native Hearts for the warmer climes of Italy and Serie A back in 2020.

While Arsenal have been understandably delighted by the impact Hickey’s compatriot Kieran Tierney has made in north London, the left-back’s relentless run of injuries have seen his position become something of a problem for Arteta. With back-up option Nuno Tavares having failed to seize his chance last season, it’s no wonder the Spaniard was keen to add reinforcements in that area this summer.

But just when a deal for Hickey looked all but guaranteed, the Gunners’ interest seemed to stagnate. It appears Arteta had other ideas. Enter Ajax star Martinez.

According to The Athletic, the Argentine ace presented Arteta with an interesting alternative. The Spaniard was said to have been taken by the 24-year-old’s versatility.

A centre-back by trade, Martinez has also featured in midfield and at left-back for the Eredivisie champions – the latter proving itself to be a particularly exciting prospect for Arsenal. With that, it seems all plans to acquire Hickey were shelved as the full focus with regards to a defensive reinforcement was evidently turned to Martinez.

But while Arsenal’s gaze has been averted, Brentford have seized the initiative. The Bees are understood to be closing in on a £14million deal to sign the Bologna starlet from under the north Londoners’ noses.



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