Arsenal midfield target could be perfect alternative to Martin Odegaard

AC Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu

Arsenal are keen on signing AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu this summer, according to Sky Italia.

What is the latest transfer news involving Calhanoglu?

The 27-year-old has also attracted interest from Juventus and Chelsea, who are monitoring the player's situation ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

The Italian champions are reported to be in the best position to sign Calhanoglu at this stage.

How much is Calhanoglu worth and when does his contract expire?

Calhanoglu's contract at Milan is set to end this summer, meaning he would be available on a free transfer at the start of July.

The player is currently in talks with the club over an extension to his deal, but the two parties are believed to be at a stalemate. 

The Rossoneri are understood to be willing to offer Calhanoglu a new contract which would see him earn €4m-a-year, but the attacker is holding out for €5m, and is only prepared to make minimal changes to his stance.

What are Calhanoglu's stats this season?

The Turkish international has been a standout player for Milan this season in Serie A.

As per WhoScored, he has received an average game rating of 7.31 - a higher mark than all of Arsenal's players who have made multiple appearances in the league in 2020/21.

Calhanoglu also stacks up favourably against the current Arsenal squad when it comes to assists. He has laid on eight goals in Italy's top division this term - three more than the Gunners' best performer in this category, Willian.

What has Stefano Pioli said about Calhanoglu?

Milan manager Stefano Pioli has relied on Calhanoglu to deliver the goods throughout this season. More often than not, the attacking midfielder has stepped up to the plate.

Speaking back in September after Calhanoglu had scored twice in Europa League qualifying against Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt, Pioli lavished praise on his player.

He told DAZN, as quoted by Football Italia: “A lot of the credit goes to him, he’s a generous player with high quality, he works for the team.

“It’s difficult to always expect two goals but I expect this type of performance. He’s an exceptional guy, he has the qualities to become the protagonist.”

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A back-up option for Odegaard?

Martin Odegaard has started strongly at Arsenal, and was voted the club's Player of the Month for March.

However, the Norwegian international is only on loan from Real Madrid, meaning that Arsenal will have to dig deep into their pockets to sign him permanently this summer. 

They also reportedly face competition for his signature from Liverpool, who are understood to be admirers of the playmaker, and that could drive his price-tag up to £50m.

If Arsenal are unable to negotiate a fee with Real, or if Liverpool steal a march in the race for Odegaard's signature, Calhanoglu represents a cost-effective alternative. 

He will not cost the club a penny in terms of a transfer fee, and his numbers suggest that he will bring some much-needed creativity to Arsenal's squad.

It is understandable that Arsenal want to keep the impressive Odegaard, and they may get their way. But if they don't, Calhanoglu is a more than capable replacement.

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