Summer signing Declan Rice and Ben White could potentially see role adjustments under Mikel Arteta if the Gunners also sign Jurrien Timber.
Mikel Arteta will most likely do a lot of experimentation in pre-season before settling on his preferred Arsenal starting XI to face Nottingham Forest on August 12.
Kai Havertz already appears to be in for a huge role shift from his time at Chelsea, and two more Gunners players can follow likewise.
The Germany international completed a £65 million move from Stamford Bridge to Emirates Stadium to become Arteta’s first summer signing.
‘most expensive British player in history’ – Arsenal agree €122m Declan Rice deal after Manchester City pull out bidding war
The Gunners’ interest in him at first did not make sense given his difficulties for the Blues playing at the attack, but Arteta’s ideas to utilize him in an advanced midfield position to replace Granit Xhaka quickly became clear.
Although it has been shown that he is not very good at scoring goals, he has other skills that he can hone in north London, such as getting into the box late, working hard on defense, and picking up positions between the lines.
Arteta is very interested in having versatile players at his disposal, and it appears that his next two transfer decisions reflect that desire.
Following discussions that lasted nearly a week to determine Rice’s payment schedule, it was decided that £100 million in guaranteed money would be distributed to West Ham across three payments made over the course of the following 24 months. It is reported that a £38.5 million contract has been agreed upon to bring in Timber, a Dutch international.
Jurrien Timber was one of the central defensive targets for Manchester United last summer. Timber, however, spent the majority of the 2022–23 season at right-back for Ajax, but he frequently came central to provide them an extra body in midfield.
Arteta’s desire to utilize inverted full-backs almost certainly impacted his decision to sign the defensive addition, but it could pose a new challenge for Ben White.
In an interview with talkSPORT, journalist Alex Crook outlined a fascinating tactical idea that would keep all three players in Arteta’s first-choice lineup.
“I’m interested to see what happens with Ben White because we know they’re going to bring in Jurrien Timber,” he said.
“I think he might move up to a sort of John Stones midfield role, I wouldn’t rule that out. So, he might well be the holding midfielder and that will enable Declan Rice to go further forward.”
White has previously played in center midfield for Brighton, and Rice has also shown he can make an impact in the final third, with his stunning goal in the Europa Conference League against Gent proving this.