Arsenal are targeting Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic as a potential replacement for Santi Cazorla, according to reports.
The Sun report that Arsene Wenger has personally called Miralem Pjanic in a bid to bring him to the Emirates, and the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has “responded with enthusiasm.” They state that the two have now been working on a verbal agreement, with a view to bringing Pjanic to Arsenal to replace Santi Cazorla.
The Sun go on to say that Juventus are reluctant to sell Pjanic, especially having missed out on Axel Witsel, who is on the verge of moving to China. Even though signing Pjanic in the January transfer window is highly unlikely, Arsenal are set to test Juventus’ resolve with a £28m offer for the midfielder.
Pjanic has made 19 appearances for Juventus this season in the Serie A and Champions League combined, with a return of 6 goals and 6 assists. A player who has a wide range of passing and is equally comfortable with quick exchanges as he is incisive through-balls, Pjanic would fit right into Arsenal’s style of play. He is also adept at taking set pieces, just like Santi Cazorla.
Pjanic had been linked with moves to several Premier League clubs after catching the eye of clubs around Europe – including Barcelona and Real Madrid – with his performances for Roma. He eventually joined Juventus in June 2016 in a deal worth a reported £25m. He has since gone on to become one of Juventus’ most influential players since the departure of Paul Pogba.
Arsenal have been linked with a few central midfielders over the last few weeks, with links to Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi resurfacing earlier this week. Although Arsenal are well-stocked in midfield, Santi Cazorla has had recurring injury issues over the last couple of years and has missed significant parts of the campaign.
The Spaniard’s injury last season saw Arsenal’s worst run of form – a run that saw them drop out of the title challenge fairly quickly. After his injury against Ludogorets, Arsenal have once again went through a string of poor performances and dropped off the pace.
With Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla all on the books, Arsenal are well stocked in midfield. But should Cazorla depart in the summer, Arsene Wenger will no doubt want a midfielder with his creative and technical nous to come into the side.
Despite Jack Wilshere set to return to the club at the end of the season, Arsenal have reportedly not opened contract talks with the England international. Depending on how the situation with Cazorla and Wilshere plays out, Arsenal could indeed be lining up Pjanic as a potential successor for the Spaniard.
Given that he only joined Juventus at the beginning of this season, however, and has a contract that runs until 2021, it is more than likely that Arsenal will have to stump up more than £28m for the Bosnia and Herzegovina international.