Gilberto Silva has appeared to confirm Arsenal are looking to strengthen their midfield as a priority in the January transfer window.
Doubts over the durability of Gabriel Jesus had led to speculation that Mikel Arteta would go all out to sign a new striker.
Ivan Toney, whose eight-month ban for breaking betting regulations, is set to expire had been earmarked as a top target, but Brentford’s £80million valuation, allied to Chelsea’s interest, renders a deal unlikely.
In any case, Arsenal now appear more likely to look to strengthen their engine room with Arteta’s plan to replace Granit Xhaka with Kai Havertz showing little sign of working so far this season.
Thomas Partey’s latest fitness setback, meanwhile, has heaped further pressure on record signing Kai Havertz and Jorginho, whose contract has just over eight months left to run.
Experienced Egypt international Mohamed Elneny has returned to full fitness after a year out but his contract is also set to expire at the end of the current campaign and he is likely to be called up in January for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Arsenal have already been linked with a move for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz whom they attempted to sign 14 months ago before he signed a new long-term deal.
‘I heard that they were maybe looking for some midfielders especially because of Partey being injured at times,” Silva told Mirror Sport at the Web Summit in Lisbon, where he was promoting his new hate-free football social media platform, Striver.
‘I’m not sure if it’s 100 per cent going to happen but obviously, they have to be aware that this is a very short window and very specific.
‘You have to be like a fisherman sometimes, to grab the right player that you really need that’s going to help you to win games and to be useful for the rest of the season. Also to improve the way you play.
‘It’s not about sometimes bringing a player because you need [them]. Speaking to people there, Edu many times, they are working hard to have the data and what they think is right for the club in terms of targets.
‘The market is very competitive as well, sometimes you have to be fast and not lose the opportunity.’
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