Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu are looking to strengthen the team in the January transfer window. Arsenal went into the 2022 FIFA World Cup break as the Premier League leaders. The Gunners are five points ahead of second-place Manchester City.
The Gunners are planning to improve the team to win a first Premier League title since 2003-04. The team’s hierarchy wants to strengthen the midfield and one player on the transfer shortlist is Toulouse’s Fares Chaibi.
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Arsenal attempted to sign Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz just before the summer transfer window closed. However, a deal couldn’t be reached. The Gunners were recently linked with a transfer to in-demand Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, along with Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans.
Chaibi could be an alternative transfer and one that costs less than either Bellingham or Tielemans. Transfermarkt currently values Chaibi at just €4 million. The Frenchman is a key member of the Toulouse squad after the club was promoted to Ligue 1 for this campaign.
Chaibi is just 19 years old and is in his first full season with the Toulouse senior team. He joined the senior side ahead of the current campaign after being promoted from Toulouse’s B team. The attacking midfielder has two goals and four assists in 13 Ligue 1 matches this season.
The versatile player is 6-foot tall and physically strong. He is a technically-gifted player capable of scoring goals and setting them up. Chaibi has helped Toulouse to a comfortable midtable position after 15 games. Chaibi’s rise to Ligue 1 was unexpected. The player can be labelled as a late bloomer after coming through FC Lyon’s academy. Chaibi played for Lyon’s second team, FC Lyon, and not Ligue 1 team Olympique Lyonnais. Toulouse signed Chaibi in 2019.
Arsenal scouts have been on hand to watch Chaibi play. Chaibi can play multiple positions including as a secondary striker and traditional No 10. Manager Philippe Montanier has used Chaibi in five different positions this season. Chaibi can play also play on either wing or as a central midfielder.
Arsenal are not the only team tracking Chaibi. Spain’s Sevilla are also following the attacking player. Although born in France, Chaibi could be handed a call-up to the Algeria national team. Chaibi is a late bloomer and has not received a call-up to the French national team at any level.
Chaibi would provide youth to the Arsenal side, but the attacking player would lack experience. Arsenal could approach an experienced midfielder during the transfer market to push for the Premier League title in the second half of the season.
Chaibi’s brother, Ilyes, came through the AS Monaco academy before playing in Austria, Algeria, and France’s lower leagues. Ilyes currently plays for Swiss club Servette’s U21 team and has scored 16 goals in 13 matches.