Arsenal might have had a fruitful transfer window but the work seemingly never stops as Mikel Arteta and Edu look to constantly improve their squad and challenge the top of the table.
Arsenal had Rennes midfielder Lovro Majer watched again on Thursday when he played for Croatia against Denmark.
The 24-year-old — who has been compared with Luka Modric in his homeland — has been on the Gunners’ radar following the success of his move to Ligue 1. Rennes paid around £10million to take him from Dinamo Zagreb 13 months ago.
And so well has he performed that since moving to Brittany that the French outfit will demand at least £44m from any clubs which want to sign him. Majer, who has been capped nine times by Croatia, signed a five-year deal when he arrived at Roazhan Park.
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have also been linked with moves for the player, who beat Kasper Schmeichel within a minute of coming on in midweek to seal a 2-1 Nations League win for his country.
The midfielder has made eight appearances for Rennes so far, two in the Europa League and six in League 1, scoring once and assisting twice. He has been deployed in an attacking midfield position once but is usually deployed in central midfield.
Given Granit Xhaka is turning 30 in a matter of days, the Croatian could be viewed as a long-term successor to Swiss midfielder. Xhaka has played in a more advanced role this season and is flourishing in Arteta’s side.
Bar the defeat to Manchester United, in which Arsenal were arguably the better side for much of the contest, the Gunners have won every other one of their games. Arsenal sit top of the league, a point ahead of Manchester City.
Smart business saw Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos and Matt Turner all recruited in the summer. But Arteta knows a squad rich in depth will be needed to challenge the likes of Manchester City for the league. This is where Majer comes in.
After such a confident start, Wenger has given two reasons why his former side could, in fact, go all the way.
“I would say they have a good chance this season because I don’t see any super dominating team,” the French icon told Sky Sports. “I believe that it is a good opportunity to do it this season.
“Of course, it’s a little bit of a special season as well because you have the World Cup in the middle and you don’t know how much that will affect the performances of the individual players and of the teams. Overall, I believe there is a good opportunity there this season.”