Mikel Arteta pushing for key Arsenal transfer as Liverpool make shock $51m decision


Mikel Arteta is said to be the key force behind a surprise Arsenal move for Barcelona centre-back Eric Garcia. After an injury to Jurrien Timber it has left the Gunners in a precarious position as defenders continue to depart the club.

Left-back Kieran Tierney has moved on loan to Real Sociedad whilst Nuno Tavares has agreed a deal to join Nottingham Forest on loan with an option to buy included. Rob Holding could yet move on this summer and the state of play leaves Arteta potentially very light at the back.

Jakub Kiwior, primarily a centre-back, is now effectively one of the options at left-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu more suited to playing on the right. With Gabriel Magalhaes emerging as a shock candidate to leave in the final days of the window it has left the stock cupboard bare.

The answer is reportedly Garcia, though Spanish publications suggest that Xavi isn't keen on letting him go despite an uncertain role in the squad. Arteta, having worked with him at Manchester City briefly, is now said the be the reason behind these late links as he plans to bolster his squad.

football.london says: The injury to Timber aside, quite how Arsenal have landed themselves in this situation is staggering. The business was all going so smoothly but they have now had two weeks to make a decision regarding reinforcements at the back and nothing has been done.

Gabriel was a flight risk at the same time Timber got injured and the lack of progress since then is alarming. When the African Cup of Nations comes round in January there is the very real chance that Arteta only has five senior defenders to call on. For a side competing at the top of the league, in Europe and hopefully two cup competitions, that is far from enough.

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Garcia would be a really good option in this world. At 22 he is a long-term option for the group and has been schooled under Pep Guardiola and Xavi, two characters close to Arteta's own footballing philosophy. He played a bit-part role across 1,400 minutes and 24 games in Catalonia last season and if he could do the same for the Gunners then this would be a smart piece of business.

There's no surprise Arteta is keen on it.

If Garcia coming in was a deal that didn't look to be on the cards last week then this next one is certainly out of the blue. It is reported in France that Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has been offered to Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp looks to solve his squad issues.

The Reds have signed Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai already this summer but lost James Milner on a free, Fabinho to Saudi Arabia for £40million ($51million), Jordan Henderson to Al Ettifaq as well as Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leaving too. It has left them understaffed in the position and Lokonga, who is out of favour at Arsenal, has been touted as a name to solve the puzzle.

Having not yet managed to secure another loan away from the club, Lokonga is in no-mans land at just 23 and struggling to make a name for himself in England.

football.london says: Arsenal really cannot be saying no to this if it's true. It's certainly a surprise but Liverpool are absolutely desperate to get another midfielder through the door and if things don't go well with Ryan Gravenberch they could set eyes on Lokonga.

It seems unlikely that he would appear that high up on many lists considering the lack of progress he has made on the pitch in the past two years but honestly who knows? Perhaps the biggest thing that it has going for it is that Liverpool would be confident of Arsenal accepting any proposal without much trouble of negotiation, at this stage that has to count for something.

Arsenal want to see him develop but preferably have it happen without him on their books or under their control and responsibility, Liverpool just need a body through the door and have a player here with Premier League experience that is absolutely determined to get some game time and change the fortunes of his career around quickly.

It actually makes a lot of sense from a logistics standpoint and frankly it's hard to see Arsenal saying no if an offer does come in.

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