I never thought I’d live to see the day when Arsenal are looking to get all, or at least most of their transfer business done early, but here we are.
The club could end the week with four new signings already wrapped up, despite the window opening just over a week ago. Fabio Vieira is set to follow Marquinhos through the door, while Matt Turner is expected to finalize his move in the coming days.
A deal to sign Gabriel Jesus is believed to be edging closer and various reports suggest Raphinha remains a serious target for the Gunners. Potential business does not end there either as Mikel Arteta is also keen on strengthening defense, with Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez an active target.
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The Athletic confirmed that Arsenal have already had a bid in the region of £ 26m rejected for the Argentine, although a second offer is thought to be in the pipeline. The 24-year-old was a standout in Erik ten Hag’s side last season and his versatility makes him an attractive option in the market, capable of operating as a center-back, left-back or defensive midfielder.
However, a deal for Martinez may be easier said than done with Manchester United also circling. In addition to their interest, Ajax risk losing several key players this summer and are understandably reluctant to do business. I hope I’m wrong, but I currently get the impression that it will be a difficult deal to do unless Arsenal put an offer on the table which is simply too good to turn down.
So with this in mind, I decided to take a look at other options out there that possess similar qualities to Martinez and one name, in particular, stood out – PSV Eindhoven’s Olivier Boscagli. Also aged 24, left-footed and capable of playing in exactly the same positions, Boscagli has developed into one of PSV’s most important players since moving from OGC Nice as a talented prospect in 2019.
He played 45 times last season and scored four goals in the process, highlighting impressive reliability. Although a serious knee injury that required surgery ruled him out towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
Solid defensively and strong in possession, Boscagli also likes to bring the ball out of the backline similar to Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes. Representing France across multiple youth levels, he would already have a very good understanding with William Saliba too which is an added bonus.
During his career so far, Boscagli has operated as a left-back 59 times while separately playing as a defensive midfielder 13 times. Central defense has been his main position, featuring there on 85 occasions. Like Martinez, Boscagli also carries lots of experience having both made just over 176 appearances each.
For Arteta, not only would he be securing the services of someone who offers a lot of what Martinez does, but he would also be getting someone from the same league, meaning the time to adjust would not be much different, if at all. Boscagli also stands a few inches taller than his Eredivisie rival, handing him a slight aerial advantage.
I can see why Martinez is a priority, there’s a lot to like about him. But if Arsenal are unsuccessful in their attempts to bring him to north London, Boscagli would represent a decent option if the aforementioned injury heals up nicely. He would also be much cheaper too, with FootballTransfers valuing him at around £ 12m.