Arsenal may not be in the Champions League this season, but what happened in the group stage could still have an impact on them.
Following matchday six on Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 of the 16 teams that have progressed to the knockout stages have been revealed, with one of Atalanta and Villarreal completing the list on Thursday afternoon.
Interestingly, Lille will be one of the clubs in the last-16 draw on Monday, which could spell bad news for Mikel Arteta and Edu moving into the January transfer market.
Arsenal has long been linked with midfield reinforcements, particularly given Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny may be missing for up to a month due to Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Renato Sanches’ name keeps cropping up among the various central midfielders connected with a January move to the Emirates Stadium, including former Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum.
In reality, the Portugal international has stated his interest in joining Arsenal and AC Milan.
Sanches’ contract with Lille expires in the summer of 2023, and there has been speculation that the French club could cash in on the midfielder in January if a good bid is made.
According to Telefoot, Arsenal has been given the go-ahead to buy the 24-year-old midfielder next month for €30 million (£25.6 million).
With that in mind, may Lille’s involvement in the Champions League after Christmas provide a new dilemma for the north London club in terms of a prospective Sanches deal?
After all, by switching from France to England and joining Arsenal, he would be foregoing the opportunity to play in Europe for the second half of the season.
As a result, Arsenal manager Arteta and technical director Edu may face additional difficulties in completing this £25.6 million transaction, as Milan is also interested.
On the subject of the January transfer window, the Spaniard revealed the club’s position on what could happen next month, amid reports of up to three moves being completed.
In his pre-Manchester United press conference, he declared, “We are in discussions [internally].” “Every week, we talk about it, about how we can enhance the team, and about what can happen in the January transfer window that might effect our roster.”