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Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Reportedly Scouting Andrija Zivkovic

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2018

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MARCH 03: SL Benfica forward Andrija Zivkovic from Serbia during the Portuguese Primeira Liga match between SL Benfica and CS Maritime at Estadio da Luz on March 3, 2018 in Lisbon, Lisboa. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Portuguese publication A Bola (h/t TalkSport) has reported how Arsenal had scouts watching Benfica's Andrija Zivkovic during Saturday's 5-0 rout of Maritimo, ahead of a possible move once the summer transfer window opens.

Serbia international Zivkovic was on the scoresheet in front of the watching eyes from north London.

TalkSport noted how Arsenal scouts have been running the rule over the wingerย for a number of months, and they "have since been urging the club to make a move for the 21-year-old, who has been watched byย Manchester Unitedย in the past, too."

Adding a precocious talent in attacking areas seems the last thing the Gunners need to help facilitate a necessary rebuild. Repeated defensive frailties have seen the club fall to sixth in the Premier League, 13 points adrift of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur and a place in the top four.

It means Arsenal are facing the prospect of a second season without UEFA Champions League football. Manager Arsene Wenger is besieged by pressure from the stands and the boardroom, with the 68-year-old reportedly telling coaches he won't go willingly in the summer, per Matt Hughes of The Times.

Pressure is increasing daily on Wenger.
Pressure is increasing daily on Wenger.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Speaking after Arsenal lost 2-1 away to Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday, Wenger said he can still turn things around, per James Benge of the London Evening Standard.

Any revival at the Emirates Stadium has to begin at the back, with the team conceding 41 goals in 29 league matches. They also shipped three to Manchester City as they lost the Carabao Cup final.

The declining talents of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, as well as the questionable purchases of Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi, have left the Gunners short of quality in a vital area.

Yet for all of the issues at the back, Wenger's squad also has question marks in forward areas. The sales of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez mean Arsenal are particularly short on the flanks.

Selling both Sanchez and Walcott has left Arsenal lacking width.
Selling both Sanchez and Walcott has left Arsenal lacking width.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

There is no longer a natural winger in the first-team group, with striker Danny Welbeck and playmaker Alex Iwobi often pushed out wide. A player such as Zivkovic, who possesses pace, trickery and a keen eye both for a pass and for finding the net, could give the Gunners the creative force they need on the wing.

Following up their watching brief with a summer bid for Zivkovic would be a solid move. However, Arsenal's main focus has to be on defence when the next transfer window opens, whether Wenger is still in charge or not.

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