Micah Richards believes Arsenal would have had a “perfect” January transfer window if they signed Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina.
The Gunners were not shy in their pursuit of the Serbian striker after ostracising Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following a disciplinary breach.
After failing to land Vlahovic – who joined Juventus for around £73m – Arsenal decided to let Aubameyang join Barcelona.
Mikel Arteta is short of options up front after letting the Gabon captain leave. Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette are now the only out-and-out strikers in his first-team squad.
The Spanish manager appeared to put all of his eggs in one basket as he pursued Vlahovic. After he joined Juventus, Arsenal did not go after an alternative No. 9.
And speaking in his Daily Mail column, Richards has said the signing of the 22-year-old – who has 21 goals in 28 Serie A matches this term – would have made the January window a “perfect” one for the Gunners.
“Football is evolving, and Arteta is from the new school of managers, a man who not long ago was playing and can understand what a dressing room needs to run smoothly,” wrote Richards.
“He will know what his squad needs to keep them happy, on and off the pitch.
“You should not forget, either, that Arteta has been brave. It was a big call to allow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s sale to Barcelona in January. If he had signed Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina as his replacement, the transfer window would have been perfect.”
Meanwhile, William Saliba has once again discussed his Arsenal future, revealing his desire to “play as a starter” next season.
“They are often in contact with my agent,” Saliba – who is currently on loan at Marseille – told L’Equipe. “They send me messages. They watch my matches. They tell me that we have to continue like this.
“I haven’t played much with the Gunners. The coach has made his choices, that’s life. I left on loan, I put the matches together, and I became an international. What happened to me forged a tougher mind, it is not because you have cost €30m that you are playing. I take it positively, even if there are times that you wonder.”
Saliba added: “Of course, I can’t be happy on Arsenal’s bench. I want to play as a starter. Afterwards, if I enter the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like being in the U23s and never being in the squad.”
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