Arsenal are reportedly working on signing Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi and Mikel Arteta is said to welcome the prospect of bringing the Madrid-born Moroccan to north London.
Hakimi has contributed six goals and six assists for Inter this season having spent his campaign as a right-sided midfielder in Inter’s 3-5-2 formation.
The season before that he was sublime at Borussia Dortmund, where he spent two seasons on loan for from Real Madrid, and contributed nine goals and 10 assists in 45 games, playing across right-back, left-back, right midfield and left midfield.
And with Hector Bellerin been an unused substitute in four of Arsenal’s past five Premier League matches, missing out on the squad altogether in the other game, the Gunners are looking to sign another right-back.
Per Spanish outlet AS, Inter’s Hakimi has been identified as that signing with a right-sided full-back listed as a priority addition at the Emirates.
It’s thought Inter would want £43million (€50m) for the 22-year-old, who they paid an initial £36m (€40m) to sign just last summer from Real Madrid.
The Morocco international only made 17 first-team appearances for Los Blancos but the versatile attack-minded defender has proven his quality elsewhere.
AS say due to Inter’s dire financial situation, they are happy to make profit on Hakimi even though he is a key player for Antonio Conte, who looks set to deliver the club’s first league title since 2010.
And Arteta would love to link up with the fleet-footed Hakimi in London with a firm offer apparently being prepared.
Real Madrid have a clause in their deal that gives them first refusal on the player but AS say it is unlikely they will re-sign their academy graduate, who joined them aged eight.
Hakimi would be an upgrade on Arsenal’s current starting right-backs, with Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers presently preferred to Spaniard Bellerin there.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said of Bellerin’s future on Tuesday: “There are ‘huge chances’ for Hector Bellerin to leave Arsenal in the summer.
It is unclear how much Arsenal could command for Bellerin though the fee mooted last summer when PSG showed interest was £35m, which would go a long way to funding a move for Hakimi.
Arsenał legend Michael Thomas wants to see Hakimi and another four signings brought to the English capital in the summer window.
“I don’t think Arsenal need to be thinking about a new manager just yet,” Thomas, scorer of the goal that won Arsenal the league in 1989, told CaughtOffside.
“A new manager will experience the same issues until they have their own team of players in place to produce what they want.