Arsenal started negotiations with 20-year-old Italian midfielder

The London giants are among the teams interested in Samuele Ricci. Arsenal have been monitoring the progress of the Empoli youngster for quite some time now, having notably initiated negotiations with the Serie A club around a year ago.

A product of the Empoli youth academy, U21 Italy international has established himself as one of the most exciting midfield talents in Serie A since his breakthrough in the 2019/20 season. At the age of only 20, Ricci has notched up 86 competitive games for the team, 18 of which have come in Serie A this term.

A defensive midfielder by trade, Samuele has made a solid impression with his composure on the ball. His maturity and positioning awareness have further enhanced his reputation in Serie A, with many labelling him as the “mini Jorginho”.

The 20-year-old midfielder’s rapid rise to prominence has not gone unnoticed either, with the Gunners keeping close tabs on his progress at Empoli. Arsenal are in the market for midfield reinforcements this month in light of their lack of depth.

Partey is unavailable due to the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, whereas Maitland-Niles has recently joined Roma on a loan deal. Elneny, who is also away at AFCON, could leave Arsenal amid interest from Newcastle, potentially leaving the Spanish manager with Xhaka and Sambi Lokonga as his only options in the midfield.

In an effort to mitigate the crisis, Mikel Arteta is reportedly preparing a €20m winter swoop for Palmeiras youngster Danilo.