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Free Agents Arsenal could swoop for in January

By Sumaiya Vawda

The mid-season window will soon be upon us. While Arsenal has recently used it to fill gaps with loan moves (e.g. Ødegaard, Denis Suarez, etc.), there also exists the opportunity to sign players out of contract in July to an early agreement. Below are some of the names stirring debate in Gunners' quarters.

Franck Kessie

AC Milan's 25-year old midfielder has been linked to Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham most strongly. Statistically, he is prolific at winning duels and tackles. In possession, he is a secure technician with a penchant for goal, netting 5 for the season thus far. Kessie would suit Arteta's system and could usurp the always discussed Granit Xhaka. His age profile is also not beyond the club's project. Recent reports suggest Spurs lead the race for the Ivorian, but this is baffling given admiration from Real Madrid and his own club's desperation to keep him. Perhaps one to keep an eye on.

Boubacar Kamara

The midfield prodigy is running down his contract in Ligue 1 with Roma, Man United and Newcastle in hot pursuit. The France U21 player has impressed with solid pressing, aerial wins, and high progressive passing numbers this season. A further selling point is his ability to play multiple positions, often turning out in defence. At 22, he can slot alongside Sambi Lokonga as a potential future midfield if each player fulfils their potential. Adding Kamara to the squad would be a coup.

Denis Zakaria

A Swiss midfielder from Borussia Monchengladbach has been linked with Arsenal. No, it's not 2016. This is Xhaka's younger compatriot on the international front. The 25-year old defends well and is a competent ball-progressor and carrier. To his merit, he has already been in a functional midfield with Xhaka, and that should aid his integration. Long-term links to Arsenal could finally come to fruition if he is chosen to fill holes left by Mo Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles' potential departures.

Paul Pogba

Nobody said this list would be totally realistic. The Frenchman has had a troubled few seasons at Old Trafford, while his agent has expressed the player's interest in gracing the Bernabeu for Madrid. It remains to be seen what level of suitors Pogba attracts, given his patchy playing time and form. The player could bring a high technical level and star power to Arsenal but isn't particularly suited to the double pivot Arteta currently employs. Questions around his application and best position make such a player ripe for another Aubameyang-styled conundrum for the manager. Perhaps best to avoid.

Sergi Roberto

Wild rumours have pitted Arsenal against Man City for the Spaniard's signature. The 29-year old is a versatile tool to have in midfield or right-back. This would appear to suit Arteta's system, but his possession-based teachings at Barcelona and his physical profile dictate that he may struggle defensively in the Premier League. This is contrary to incumbent Tomiyasu. Paying Roberto a high wage to be an understudy to the Japanese international would be obscene. Roberto's other position, central midfield, is not an area where Arsenal lack experience. Thus, this move doesn't make much sense.

Paulo Dybala

A player long set for the Premier League, it would be unfair not to discuss the Argentine - for nostalgia's sake. The 28-year old holds Champions League pedigree but has had an uncertain few seasons. However, there seems to be a resurgence on the horizon, with the forward scoring 8 and assisting 4 across all competitions in 21/22. Statistically, he profiles similarly to Gabriel Jesus for the season. Potential departures for Aubameyang and Lacazette would leave Arsenal short of experience in the forward areas. Is Dybala the answer? Probably not. Would it be interesting to see him play for another Premier League outfit? Potentially.

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