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Arsenal’s two decades of tradition took a massive blow when they failed to grab a ‘top four’ Premier League finish last season and didn’t qualify for the prestigious Champions League tournament. Arsene Wenger, the veteran Frenchman, extended his stay as Arsenal’s boss amidst outrage from the fans whereas Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, two of their superstars, have not yet agreed to sign a new deal. Both of them will be free agents in less than 8 months time and Wenger is currently struggling to find apt replacements for his prized assets.
As per latest reports, Wenger is eyeing Olympic Lyon skipper Nabil Fekir in winter as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez. Fekir has been in stupendous form this season as he has scored 11 goals and 4 assists in 11 league outings already. The Frenchman netted against Everton as well in their 2-1 Europa League victory at Goodison Park and his scintillating run has earned him an international call-up from Didier Deschamps.
Wenger has his influence back in France and brought in Fekir’s former teammate Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee in the summer. He is now determined to break the bank once again and is planning a £60m swoop for the 24-year-old Lyon attacker when the transfer window reopens in January.
However, the Gunners are not the only ones who hold the interest in Nabil Fekir. He has also been scouted by Barcelona and Robert Fernandez, their sporting director, reportedly attended their Goodison Park outing against Everton. The Catalans will continue to monitor his progress in the future, following his stellar display both in domestic competitions as well as in European ones.
The player has expressed his desire to play in England or in Spain and the profile of Barcelona will be too fascinating to ignore. However, Fekir is not the only player who Barca are chasing. They are desperately pursuing Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and despite the Reds’ strong stance of keeping hold of their star Brazilian, Barcelona are tipped to return for him once again when the transfer window reopens.
They have plenty of options in their squad and the likes of Paco Alcacer and Arda Turan are struggling to receive enough first-team opportunities. The game-time of Gerard Deulofeu and Ousmane Dembele will be jeopardised as well if they acquire Coutinho. Fekir’s possibility of having regular minutes will be furthermore uncertain.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are thriving to wrap up deals for top-notch resources in order to get their way back into Champions League football. But their current profile is hindering them from achieving so as they failed to land French sensation Thomas Lemar despite agreeing to a £90m transfer fee with his current outfit AS Monaco. Champions League football has to be the main reason behind that failure but the same thing doesn’t apply for Fekir though as he is also participating in Europa League just like his Premier League admirers.
Fekir is no close to Sanchez’s mastery but is capable of playing in multiple attacking roles like the Chilean. He can operate as a second striker, as an attacking midfielder and also as a right-winger. He will be a like-to-like replacement for Alexis Sanchez and would have a crucial role in the Gunners’ starting line-up. The Frenchman might have a greater possibility of winning silverware at Camp Nou but the challenge at Emirates will be a better career move for the 24-year-old French international.