Edu told to make transfer decision over Arsenal player Mikel Arteta 'loves' amid Riccardo Calafiori talks

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Arsenal may need to make some tough decisions over a number of players this summer as they look to strengthen their squad while balancing the books.

Arsenal have been told they should consider selling one of their big investments amid an expected incoming. The Gunners are looking to strengthen this summer, with a number of key areas to improve on the back of a season that saw them fall just short of Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta will want to add a centre-back, winger and striker before the start of the new season, and it’s likely a number of players will leave the club to ease any financial concerns. The likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Reiss Nelson all look likely to depart, with Arsenal needing to tread lightly around Profit and Sustainability rules after a summer of big spending last year.

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On the incomings front, it looks as though Italy and Bologna star Riccardo Calafiori may be the first player in through the doors at the Emirates Stadium. Various reports suggest a £45million deal is likely to be struck in the coming days, and that will allow Arteta to add depth in two areas at once.

That’s because Calafiori, who is left-footed, is able to cover at centre-back and at left-back. Then again, Arsenal need to make some decisions on the left having been left with plenty of options. Kieran Tierney is returning from a loan spell with Real Sociedad and Nuno Tavares from Nottingham Forest. Aside from those two, Arteta has Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko as main options who were with the club last season.

Arteta will want to sell one of two of those players, especially if Calafiori does join, and pundit Darren Bent believes one of the main options should be offloaded. He told talkSPORT: “Also, he (Riccardo Calafiori) could play at left-back, which could help as well. Centre-half wise, we are more than adequate in that area, but also from the left-back situation, Arsenal have got about, I think, it’s still six left-backs, so that’s one area, I think left-back was an issue.

“I know Timbers has come back, but Zinchenko, he’s probably the one I would allow to leave before, keep Jakub Kiwior because I think Kiwior last season showed signs that he could be a top left-back for Arsenal. Listen, another defender (Riccardo Calafiori), another option. It’s always good.”

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Arsenal spent £30milllion on Zinchenko in 2022, but the Ukrainian did struggle with fitness and form last season despite an impressive campaign before that. Arteta said in the spring: “I love Alex, he has given us so much. He has given us a lot. He's a player with different qualities and an unbelievable courage to play football in any circumstances. As we always demand, stay with our players, give them support because for sure they're going to perform better."

He also added in an address around the same time: “He’s very important. You have to ask the players to play in their strengths. I think Alex has got the personality to play in any game, under any condition, being himself. That’s a big thing to have. Yeah, he has some difficulties, especially with injuries, to find the rhythm and to find the consistency and now he’s back on it, he’s got a few games under his belt, he’s playing better and better and he’s a really, really important player for us.”

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