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Arsenal eyeing Hakan Calhanoglu

Arsenal are flying this season, topping the Premier League and qualifying in first position of their Europa League group, and now look to bolster the squad this winter.

What’s the word?

The midfield department is one key area that Gunners owner Stan Kroenke wishes to inject fresh life into, with concerns that the current crop might suffer a lapse in the marathon campaign, with Manchester City chasing the club for the league title. 

InterLive names Arsenal alongside Aston Villa in eyeing a swoop for set-piece specialist Hakan Calhanoglu, who could serve as an excellent alternative for the touted Youri Tielemans, who Arsenal are among heated suitors in striving for his signature.

But with intrigue from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Arsenal must search for contingencies in the scenario that they fail to secure their man, and Calhanoglu could adopt the position in resounding fashion, though he’s likely to cost in the region of £26m.

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The next Cazorla?

The balance of Arteta’s team is unequivocally harmonious, with 11 shipped goals a joint-divisional best, with free-flowing Manchester City the only other outfit to outscore the north London giants

However, the board are right to express concerns over the depth of the squad, with title rivals City boasting a pool far deeper. 

Calhanoglu has made 20 appearances for the Nerazzurri this term, scoring three goals and gifting five assists for his teammates from his industrious seat at the heart of the team. 

While the Turkish international adopts the deeper, No.8 role, he possesses plenty of offensive aptitude and is capable of unlocking defences with fierce strikes and calculated forward balls.

And the 28-year-old maestro holds semblance to former Arsenal icon Santi Cazorla, with the long-range passing and orchestrating ability from the centre qualities that Cazorla implemented into his game with aplomb. 

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As per FBref, the 74-cap midfielder ranks within the top percentile for assists and shot-creating actions this term, whilst also in the top 6% for shots taken and the top 16% for attempted passes, when compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues throughout the past year. 

And Sofascore rate the ace’s seasonal Italian Serie A rating at a commendable 7.38, with his 87% pass accuracy threading together with an average of 2.1 tackles per match, highlighting the robust approach that does little to dissuade the Gunners from making a move.

It is the “exceptional” Calhanoglu’s incentive to seek out forward-thinking patterns – as praised by former manager Stefano Piolo – that has likely attracted the interest of Arsenal technical director Edu, with Arteta welcoming the addition of a player that can provide auxiliary for the frontline.

With shades of Cazorla, the Inter maestro could quickly become a fan favourite at the Emirates Stadium if he were to make the switch and could prove invaluable in the hunt for silverware, which becomes a more concrete possibility with each match that Arsenal play.