Mikel Arteta is reportedly interested in Villarreal winger Alex Baena over a summer transfer, with Arsenal looking at a versatile wide attacker.
According to Fichajes, Arsenal are considering making a move for Alex Baena in the summer of 2023. Mikel Arteta has reportedly identified the 21-year-old winger as the right profile of a wide attacker needed at the club, who could rotate on either wing.
Arsenal have been one of the most in-form teams across the continent and in England. The Gunners sit on top of the Premier League table after seven rounds of fixtures, winning six and losing once. The team looks much stronger than last season, and much of the credit has been reserved for their summer business.
The Gunners did bring in Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko as their major signings but did miss out on a winger. Current Barcelona star Raphinha was their primary target, but Arsenal failed to convince the Brazilian to join them.
Eventually, Arsenal only signed a raw 19-year-old Marquinhos, who has been impressive in his limited appearances for the Gunners. Mikel Arteta wanted another option before the window shut, but their priorities shifted towards midfield with the injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny.
However, Arsenal are ready to get back on the trail of a new wide attacker, with Villarreal’s Alex Baena emerging on their list. The Gunners were previously linked with Yeremy Pino from the Spanish side, but the 21-year-old Baena has caught their attention with some terrific displays this season.
Baena has scored six times in all competitions this term, with his ability to play on either wing attracting Arteta’s attention. The 21-year-old is reportedly valued at €10 million per market standards, but with his performances this term, Villarreal could demand the release clause worth €32 million be paid.
That number may be a manageable hurdle for a club of Arsenal’s size, although €32 million-rated Spanish winger has to be a player that Arteta firmly believes would improve the squad. Manchester City and Liverpool are also reportedly keen on the winger, but the Gunners may firm up their pursuit with an approach at the earliest.
Baena could provide the necessary cover for Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Martinelli on either wing. Arteta has been playing them as much as possible, even outside of the Premier League whenever required, as the Gunners do not have many options, particularly given the injuries to Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe.
The Gunners are continuing to build a young squad, and the €32 million-rated Spanish winger, with his age profile and style of play, will suit their cause. The competition for the winger could increase in the coming months. However, if Arsenal continues on their current trajectory, they could become one of the favourites to land players like the Villarreal winger, among others.