According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the Gunners – as well as Premier League rivals Manchester United – have the 25-year-old on their ‘list of possible targets’ in the current window, should they look to strengthen at right-back.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man – who moved to St Mary’s on an initial loan deal in January 2020 – still has three years remaining on his current deal with the Saints, although there is said to have been ‘no progress’ regarding a possible extension.
The report does also suggest, however, that Spurs could have the advantage if they opt to turn to their former asset, having included a £30m buy-back clause as part of the two-cap international’s departure from north London.
That clamour for Walker-Peters’ signature has no doubt been justified following his impressive form under Ralph Hasenhuttl in recent seasons, notably chipping in with one goal and two assists in 32 league outings in the 2021/22 campaign, proving himself adept on either side of the defence.
That haul of goal contributions may not be overly impressive, although when delving deeper it is clear that the £19.8m-rated machine poses a real threat in the attacking third, notably ranking in the top 4% for progressive carries, the top 6% for dribbles completed and the top 7% for touches in the attacking penalty among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues.
That willingness to get forward would no doubt suit the attacking, forward-thinking approach under Mikel Arteta at the Emirates, while his flexibility to feature on either flank could also prove vital amid injury concerns regarding first-choice left-back, Kieran Tierney.
On the right, Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu impressed during his debut campaign with the Gunners, although there are no doubt concerns about the lack of quality depth beyond the 23-year-old, with understudy Cedric Soares seemingly not up to scratch.
Dubbed “poor quality” by one source, the Portuguese dud has struggled to ever truly establish himself under Arteta since joining initially on loan from, ironically, Southampton during the winter window in 2020, making just 26 league starts since then.
The £67k-per-week man has also registered just two goals and five assists in 55 games in all competitions for the club, with it still something of a headscratcher that he was handed a lengthy four-year deal when his temporary move was made permanent just over two years ago.
Having been replaced by Walker-Peters with the Saints, Cedric could again find himself axed by the younger man again this summer, with there seemingly a stark difference in quality between the pair.
That is evident from a brief look at the statistics, as per FBref, which sees the 30-year-old rank in just the top 81% for dribbles completed, the top 76% for touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 38% for progressive carries – a record far inferior to that of his potential replacement.
It would appear that Arteta simply needs to be ruthless and axe the wage burner this summer by signing Walker-Peters, something that would no doubt leave the fanbase at the Emirates rather delighted.