Arsenal sign Marquinhos
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Arsenal’s XI in five years with £3m target and ‘extraordinary’ ace retained

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Arsenal have made Eddie Nketiah the club’s final offer for a new contract and are interested in signing Sao Paulo gem Marquinhos, but who may be in the Gunners’ XI in five years’ time?

Mikel Arteta has strived to stamp his mark on the ranks he adopted at the Emirates Stadium from Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery’s tenures since taking up the helm in December 2019. But the Spaniard is still frantically striving for ways he can improve the squad at his disposal.

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A new starting striker was a prime goal of the January market this year, but Arsenal failed to sign Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbian instead joined Juventus for €70m (£59.5m), while the Daily Mail even reported the Gunners felt the forward had strung them along during negotiations.

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Failing to qualify for the Champions League without the goals a new first-choice striker could have offered could now cost Arteta his leading targets in the summer transfer market. But it may also provide Nketiah with a prolonged chance to prove himself, if he agrees a new deal.

Arsenal interested in new Nketiah contract and Sao Paulo raid for Marquinhos

Reports by the Daily Mail claim Arsenal are interested in retaining Nketiah past the striker’s existing contract, which expires on June 30, and have offered him fresh terms. The Gunners are ready to pay him £100k-a-week on a five-year deal, along with a £5m signing on bonus.

The 22-year-old was set to leave north London when his current deal lapses, but ended the 2021/22 season as the first-choice. Now, Arsenal and Nketiah’s suitors sense he is willing to stay, with Arteta longing to retain the striker after scoring five goals in his last seven games.

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Nketiah putting pen to paper on Arsenal’s final contract offer could see the England U21 ace go on to prove himself as the number one striker at the Emirates. He could also establish his place in the Gunners’ attack for many years, if Nketiah uses his 2022 form as a springboard.

Doing so could see Nketiah feature alongside Marquinhos in Arsenal’s attack in future years, with Arteta interested in the Sau Paolo product. That’s also according to the Daily Mail, who note the Gunners have agreed a £3m fee but Wolves believe he has a contract with them.

Marquinhos will become a free agent from July 12 when his Sao Paulo contract expires, but the Brazilian side sought negotiations with the Gunners to secure a fee. Yet Wolves believe the 19-year-old winger had already signed a pre-contract with them to begin from July 14.

Should Arsenal’s interest win out, Marquinhos may feature in the Gunners’ XI in future years alongside Nketiah with a new contract. So, with that in mind, here is an early projection of what the Emirates Stadium line-up could look like in five years’ time with both starting…

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Aaron Ramsdale (GK): Arteta interest in new Arsenal goalkeeper proved correct

Aaron Ramsdale’s move to Arsenal last year was met with lots of scepticism following back-to-back relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United. Yet Arteta pushed through his arrival in a £24m transfer, rising to £30m with add-ons, and has seen his decision work out.

The goalkeeper is now a full England international and has more than proved his worth in north London. Ramsdale commands his area, has produced a magnitude of important saves, offers confidence to the defenders around him and kept 12 clean sheets in 34 league games.

Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB): Arsenal’s summer signing a star for now and the future

Takehiro Tomiyasu was one of Arsenal’s last pieces of business last summer when the Japan star joined from Bologna in a £15.5m deadline day deal. He instantly cemented his place at right-back following Hector Bellerin leaving for Real Betis on a season-long loan deal, too.

But injuries following the turn of the year scuppered what was set to be a sensational debut season in England. Tomiyasu continually impressed with his defensive excellence, and Arteta will now hope the summer break allows the 23-year-old to rest and recover for next term.

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Ben White (CB): High price transfer, high expectations achieved

Arteta smashed £50m of his transfer budget to sign Ben White from Brighton & Hove Albion last summer. The high fee brought very high expectations for the centre-half, who had only played Premier League football for a single season before finalising a move to north London.

Yet White achieved the expectations that hung around his neck like a heavy weight before a ball was even kicked. The England ace has proven to any doubters that he can be a starting defender at Arsenal for many more years to come in assured displays and his technical skill.

William Saliba (CB): Arteta to finally give Emery transfer his Arsenal chance

William Saliba has been on Arsenal’s books since Emery agreed a £27m transfer with Saint-Etienne in July 2019. Yet three years on, the Frenchman is still yet to make his debut or play in England at all after loan spells back in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne, OGC Nice and Marseille.

Arteta should finally give Saliba his chance at Arsenal this year though, after impressing with Les Phoceens. L’Equipe report the Gunners board also believes in what the 21-year-old can offer in an integral role in north London. He may even earn a new contract before his debut.

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Saliba has shown he has a lot of potential upsides to bring to the Emirates with his displays with Marseille. Mateo Guendouzi has also spoken very fondly on what the two-cap France enforcer has produced at the Stade Velodrome while on loan from the Gunners this season.

“Physically, he wins all his duels,” Guendouzi said, via quotes by Ligue1.com. “He’s very fast, very powerful. And what people maybe see a little less is what he does with the ball – it’s extraordinary. He finds great passes, and he’s a very important player for us.”

Aaron Hickey (LB): Arsenal interested in Bologna raid for Scotland defender

Arteta could boast a new name at left-back this summer with the potential to hold down the position for years to come. That’s because Fanta Calcio note Arsenal are interested in Aaron Hickey, with Bologna preparing to sacrifice the Scotland international during the off-season.

Hickey has several suitors after a strong Serie A season and making his Tartan Army debut in March. West Ham also admire what the 19-year-old has produced over his 36 Italian league games with five goals and an assist, driving forward on the left-flank with clinical intent.

Arsenal, though, are ready to pounce and have offered Bologna €25m (£21.25m) for Hickey – more than West Ham. The funds will allow the Rossoblu to strengthen in other areas, and may be enough to wrap up the £1.5m former Hearts defenders’ move to the Emirates soon.

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Charlie Patino (CM): Gunners rising star could stake claim to key role in five years

Charlie Patino is one of the Gunners’ most promising rising stars and could stake his claim to a starting role over the next five years. Arteta has already given the 18-year-old his debut in the EFL Cup, too, while earning his maiden senior start in the FA Cup at Nottingham Forest.

The Watford-born midfielder has not featured in the Premier League as of yet, however. So, Arteta will likely strive to see Patino earn more consistent minutes in the domestic cups next season or in the Europa League. He could also seek to send the youngster out on loan, too.

Ruben Neves (CM): Arsenal interested in Wolves raid for £70m technician

This year can see Arsenal sign a star midfielder for the next few years with Arteta interested in raiding Wolves for Ruben Neves. The Daily Mail report the Gunners have monitored the Portuguese closely, but face competition from Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona.

Wolves are also reluctant to see Neves leave Molineux and will want £70m, despite the 25-year-old’s contract expiring in 2024. His preference would also be to remain in the Premier League, if the West Midlands natives receive a suitable offer during the upcoming market.

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Marquinhos (RW): Arsenal interested in Sau Paolo prospect

Arsenal are interested in strengthening their attacking options for future seasons with Sao Paulo prospect Marquinhos. Goal even reported earlier in May that the former U17 talent had flown into north London already to finalise personal terms and complete his medical.

The Gunners finalising his arrival against Wolves’ belief of a pre-contract could hand Arteta a talented prospect to develop. Marquinhos can also play on both wings and also through the centre, but favours operating from the right-flank to cut inside and attack with his left foot.

Martin Odegaard (CAM): Norway maestro captain in waiting at Emirates

Martin Odegaard was arguably Arsenal’s signing of the summer in 2021 with Arteta securing his £34m move from Real Madrid. The Norway captain pulls the strings in north London and Arteta will hope remains as influential in many seasons ahead after creating chances galore.

The 23-year-old is also potentially the captain in waiting at the Emirates with the armband set to become vacant. Odegaard took up the role toward the end of the season and led by example after Alexandre Lacazette fell to the bench and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit.

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Bukayo Saka (LW): Arteta cannot afford to lose talismanic England dynamo

Bukayo Saka is untouchable at Arsenal all the while the England dynamo believes his future is in north London. The 20-year-old scored 12 goals and assisted seven during the 2021/22 season – finding the net more than any other Gunners player and creating the second-most.

Arguably too often, Arsenal were overly reliant on Saka producing the spark in the final-third to keep the club’s Champions League qualification hopes alive. He drove the attacks on each week and scored big goals against Tottenham, Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea.

Eddie Nketiah (ST): Arsenal offer striker final contract proposal

Nketiah enjoyed a coming-of-age run in the Arsenal line-up toward the end of the season to see Arteta’s interest in him staying result in a final contract offer. He must now decide if the terms outweigh what else is on the market and if he will remain the first-choice next season.

The forward is unlikely to land a gig at another top Premier League side if he leaves. Arsenal failing to qualify for the Champions League may also hinder what sort of replacement Arteta can sign. So, chances for Nketiah to shine and cement his status for years could be available.

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