The bold £52 million signing who could transform Arsenal's attack and launch title bid next season

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The Gunners have been linked with a high profile swoop for a Dutch international

And then, suddenly and sorrowfully, it all comes down to David Moyes. There he stands - knees knocking beneath baggy chain mail, upturned bucket on his head, blunt axe in his hand - the last, lonely hope on the drawbridge as a dragon storms the castle. Arsenal supporters spent the first half of the week pinning their feeble hopes on bitter rivals Tottenham; now it is the turn of West Ham.

As things stand, Manchester City are on course to win a fourth consecutive Premier League title. Tuesday evening’s 2-0 victory over Spurs - a bizarre, booby trap of a match played in the shadow of a rock and a hard place - means that Pep Guardiola’s silverware juggernaut rolls into the final day of the season knowing that a win over the Hammers will ensure their status as champions. Again. For their part, West Ham have little to get out of bed for on Sunday; the Irons are out of the running for a European qualification spot, and given a direct choice between Arsenal winning the Premier League or not winning the Premier League, the vast majority of those blowing bubbles in East London would probably opt for the latter.

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Which, barring some minor miracle, means that City will be crowned once more, and the Gunners, having come so close for a second consecutive campaign, must begin to dust themselves down ahead of next season. In tangible terms, that process will probably look a lot like last summer did; players will leave, other players will join, Mikel Arteta will scheme the whole while with a dry wipe whiteboard marker in his clenched paw.

But where do Arsenal need to strengthen, and who will they attempt to parachute in as part of their aspirational rehabilitation? The short answer is, I don’t know. I am, after all, just a decidedly mediocre football journalist from the muddy banks of the Wear. Ask Arteta, Edu, and the various other transfer minions who scuttle around the Emirates, however, and they will give you a very strong, definitive answer; Xavi Simons.

According to a report from Spanish newspaper Nacional, Arsenal have identified the promising Dutchman as a priority target over the coming weeks, and are eager to wrap up a deal for a creative talent capable of playing in an advanced midfield role or out on either wing.

Simons’ situation is thus; a product of Barcelona’s fabled La Masia academy system, the playmaker was ‘discarded’ (Nacional’s wording, not ours) by the Catalan giants in 2019 and snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain. Since then, he has ricocheted around the continental mainland a little, moving the PSV, then back to PSG, then off on loan to RB Leipzig this season. Evidently, Simons loves an acronym. While in Germany, he has registered nine goals and 15 assists in 42 outings across all competitions, and has established himself as a regular fixture for the Netherlands national team. Presumably he will add to his baker’s dozen of senior caps at Euro 2024.

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But where he will be playing his club football next year is less certain. Alongside Arsenal’s simmering interest, Leipzig are very much open to the prospect of repeating his loan stint again, while PSG are also said to be willing to welcome him back into the first team fold at the Parc des Princes. That being said, an offer in the region of around £51.6 million could be enough to tempt the French behemoths into a sale.

At that price, Arsenal should consider pulling the trigger. The thing with Simons is not necessarily where he is as a talent right now, but where he could end up. His trajectory is steep and steady, his versatility an obvious boon to any side imbued with the fluidity that Arteta so greatly appreciates. In those respects, there are parallels to be drawn between the 21-year-old and Gunners captain Martin Odegaard; like Simons, the Norwegian flitted about on the periphery of the European elite as a glistening prodigy, and like the Norwegian, an investment in Simons has the potential to pay itself back several times over.

If Arsenal are serious about finally, finally usurping Manchester City next season, then this is exactly the kind of signing that they should be looking to make this summer.

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