According to The Guardian, Arsenal are tracking Shakhtar Donetsk winger Manor Solomon ahead of a potential transfer move.
With Mikel Arteta in the midst of his first full season in charge at the Emirates, the Spaniard is slowly starting to build the kind of squad that he wants, with plenty of incomings and outgoings already.
Now, The Guardian claim that Solomon is a player that he is eyeing ahead of making an offer in the summer transfer window, and they report that Arsenal “have held initial talks with the player’s camp, having scouted him heavily, and may firm up their interest during pre-season”.
When Nicolas Pepe arrived from Arsenal in a club-record deal from Lille in the summer of 2019, the expectations on his shoulders were massive, and understandably so given the transfer fee involved.
But with a return of just 13 goals in 63 games for the club, and with him still not having established himself as a first-team player at the Emirates, things just haven’t quite worked out yet for the Ivory Coast international.
In fact, reports back in late November even suggested that Arsenal were ready to cut their losses on him and move him after just over a year at the club.
If Solomon arrives, then that really could be the final nail in the coffin for the former Lille star. The Shakhtar flier has been described as an “Eden Hazard type” by his former national team manager at Israel, Andy Herzog, and when you look at his performances in the Champions League this season in particular, you can see why.
Like the Belgian, the £6.3m-rated Solomon turns up for the big games, as proven by him scoring in both of Shakhtar’s group stage victories over Real Madrid. The 21-year-old is direct and always looking to penetrate, much like Hazard in his pomp, and he averaged 2.7 successful dribbles per game at an astonishing accuracy of 80%.
Compare that to Pepe this season in the Premier League, who has averaged a measly 0.7 dribbles at a success rate of 53%, and it’s clear that Solomon has more to offer when it comes to beating his opposition defender.
Shakhtar’s head of recruitment, Boto, described him as someone with “real quality“, and if the winger, who can play both on the left and right-hand sides comes to the Emirates this summer, then it could well spell very bad news for Pepe and his long-term future at Arsenal.
Arteta wasn’t at Arsenal when Pepe was signed, so if his recruitment staff are holding talks with another winger, it just might hint that he’s ready to search for a replacement for the man Unai Emery brought to the Emirates.