Julian Weigl will be an Arsenal player at some point in 2019 if Sven Mislintat gets his way. The Gunners' head of recruitment reportedly wants to engineer a transfer for the midfielder he once helped bring to Borussia Dortmund.
Mislintat is determined to make a move happen, per SportBild (h/t Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror). Weigl is thought to be an ideal replacement for Aaron Ramsey, who has been told he can leave Arsenal once his contract expires next summer, although Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain are also keen.
Beating PSG to the player won't be easy for an Arsenal club lacking UEFA Champions League football. It means Mislintat's influence will be key, with the German in line to be promoted to technical director at Arsenal.
Mislintat knows all about Weigl's talents since he "led BVB's scouting of the midfielder and Weigl was signed for a meagre £2 million in 2015."
Arsenal should expect to pay a lot more if Dortmund agree to sell the 23-year-old. Richards noted how the Gunners' Premier League rivals Manchester City were quoted £65 million when they showed interest 18 months ago.
However, there is reason to believe Dortmund may be more willing to part ways with Weigl this time around. He's not been a regular starter under Lucien Favre this season, according to Richards, who pointed out how Axel Witsel, Thomas Delaney and Mahmoud Dahoud have featured instead.
However, Weigl has said the competition doesn't bother him, per Football.London's Charles Watts: "Competition is always important. I think Axel Witsel has a lot to offer with his international experience. I am glad that he is here. Playing with good people is never bad."
Nonetheless, the arrival of this trio has limited Weigl to a mere four starts across Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Pokal action. This few starts adds up to a waste of talent for a player who could be a major asset at the Emirates Stadium.
Weigl's strengths are his vision and composure in possession. He's a natural playmaker who can orchestrate matches from deep.
Those skills belong at Arsenal where Unai Emery has maintained the stylish brand of passing football predecessor Arsene Wenger made a signature of the club.
The key to Emery's version is a secure platform with two holding players at the base of midfield. Summer signing Lucas Torreira has joined Granit Xhaka in these key roles.
Xhaka is ostensibly the hub of possession, but the Switzerland international can be guilty of misplacing passes and making rash tackles.
Weigl would likely offer greater efficiency than Xhaka. Along with 22-year-old Torreira, Weigl would form a two-pronged anchor technically accomplished and tenacious enough to underpin a highly successful era under Emery.