Arsenal are planning to sign three South Americans next season while Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar are planning a summer overhaul for the Arsenal squad.
Arsenal decided to strengthen its team with a midfielder, central defender and another striker next summer. Arsenal are hoping to secure other deals in other regions, but Arteta has identified them as a priority ahead of next season.
Arsenal lost Matteo Guendouzi to Olympique de Marseille and Mohamed Elneny could lose when the season is over. They are also looking to score reserve center options for Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White, with Rob Holding and Pablo Mari not sure to stay at the club in the summer.
Arsenal will also lose their last remaining striker, captain Alexandre Lacazette and academy graduate Eddie Nkeitia, who decided to leave for free in the summer after their contracts expired.
Arteta and Edu have worked hard in identifying the players who would replace the departed and fit in with Arsenal’s style of play. Their research took them back to South America, where they identified one player in the three main areas they wanted to sign players for.
Olympique Lyonnais’ Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been promoted as a replacement for former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka, who still has an ongoing contract with the club. Edu is looking to sign Paqueta and sell Xhaka in order to get some cash back for the Swiss international before his contract expires in 2023 and he leaves for free.
Paqueta is worth £66m and is also targeted by Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United. However, Arsenal are reportedly at the forefront of signing Paqueta thanks to Edu’s efforts, according to journalist Jorge Nicola.
Paqueta has been in Europe for four seasons after a stint at Milan and now Lyon, but he is the prime example of Arsenal’s focus on rebuilding with South American players next season.
The former Flamengo man can also play as a supporting striker/ attacking heart and midfielder/right winger despite being a natural midfielder. His signature could provide a number of solutions for Arteta, who has had to deal with a lot of fitness issues in his three years as Arsenal manager.
Arsenal are also looking for two young players who will play in their native Paraguay as a striker and defense next season.
Argentina-based newspaper Kronica It reported that Arteta had sent scouts led by South American Liaison Officer/Chief Scout Everton Goshikin to look into young Cerro Porteno centre-back Alexis Duarte and Libertad young striker Julio Inchizo.
The two teams occupy the first and second positions in the Paraguayan League and are among the best performing players in the league.
Cerro Porteno Duarte is estimated at £3m while Libertad will only hear offers of £7.6m and above, according to reports. Enciso has already attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League and was on the verge of joining Brighton and Hove Albion in January.
Just in his second season as a senior player, the 18-year-old striker has scored 10 goals in 10 matches so far in the Paraguayan First Division this season, taking a huge leap from his first season in football with eight goals across 39 appearances.
Meanwhile, Duarte helped Cerro Porteno keep seven clean sheets in 11 matches in the Paraguayan League to grab the top spot this season. In the encounter that Goshikin and other Arsenal scouts watched, Duarte’s side passed through Inchizu, scoring four missed goals on the night.
It remains to be seen what Arsenal will do after observing both youngsters, but it is clear that their focus is on South America as they plan to renew their squad.