MIKEL ARTETA is hoping to use his knowledge of Spanish football to land three new players in a £97million triple transfer swoop.
The Arsenal boss, 38, will be hoping to bolster his squad when the window reopens in the summer.
With the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in attack, it is the midfield and defence where Arteta is expected to focus on improving.
And according to reports, he has lined up three exciting LaLiga rising stars who all played in the 2019 Under-21 European Championships final and put them high on his wish list.
Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez is a target for plenty of clubs this summer with Manchester City, West Ham, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich all keen.
But it is Arsenal who could be at the front of the queue for the 23-year-old central defender.
He would cost £26m from the Basque side – a relative bargain for a young and talented defender who would be hopeful of becoming a mainstay in the Gunners’ back line.
Plenty of question marks remain over David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Rob Holding while Calum Chambers is still in store for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Arteta did sign Pablo Mari on loan in January and is expected to make his deal permanent in the summer while Willian Saliba will return from his season at former club Saint-Etienne.
Arsenal, though, have been linked with plenty of central defenders with Jerome Boateng, Samuel Umtiti and Dayot Upamecano.
However, RB Leipzig urged their star defender Upamecano to “rethink” his plans to quit the German club at the end of the season.
Sporting director Markus Krosche said: “This is a far-reaching decision for a player. He should take his time with that.
“He has to be clear about exactly what he is going to do, how he sees his future.
“Maybe that has changed a bit as a result of the new situation [coronavirus].”
Arsenal are also being linked with Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler.
The Spaniard, also 23, can play across the midfield, breaking through on the right before being shifted across due to Ferran Torres’ emergence.
Soler, therefore, has shown he is more than capable of playing as the No10 or out on the left.
With Dani Ceballos’ time at the Emirates looking likely to end this summer and Jesse Lingard wanting to fight for his place at Manchester United, Arteta will be keen to bring in another creative midfielder.
And while he may not be the player to get fans off the seat with his tricks and flair, he has a huge engine and would be a solid acquisition.
The fact that Valencia are in desperate need of extra cash could also boost Arsenal’s chances of signing Soler.
Finally, the Gunners may also make a move for Espanyol star Marc Roca.
Roca, also 23, is a holding midfielder and boasts an impressive record of 2.5 tackles per match – more than any member of Arteta’s squad.
He is calm and wise on the ball – a description the likes of Granit Xhaka rarely receive – with a fine passing range, making him the ideal man to come in and sit at the base of the midfield, protecting the vulnerable back line.
Roca played a key role in Spain’s Under-21 Euros-winning side last summer, teaming up with Ceballos and Fabian Ruiz.
He is currently valued at around £35m but the fact that Espanyol sit bottom of LaLiga and are six points adrift of safety means they are at serious risk of being relegated which would surely see the Catalan club accept a smaller fee.