The former Gunners favourite believes Mikel Arteta’s side are lacking a spark in the middle of the pitch
Michael Thomas believes that Arsenal need “another creative outlet” like Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.
Arsenal have endured an inconsistent start to the 2020-21 campaign under Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have fallen to 11th in the Premier League standings after six fixtures, with a 1-0 home defeat to Leicester on Saturday marking their third defeat of the season.
Arteta’s men are currently among the lowest scorers in the top flight with just eight goals to their name, with talismanic frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently in the middle of one of the worst goal-droughts of his career.
Arsenal strengthened their midfield ranks over the summer by signing Thomas Partey and Willian, while extending Dani Ceballos’ loan from Real Madrid, but Thomas believes they are still lacking a spark in the final third of the pitch.
Lyon’s Aouar was heavily linked with a move to Emirates Stadium before the October 5 transfer deadline, and the former Gunners star thinks he is exactly the kind of player his old club need to sign in order to close the gap between themselves and the elite.
“Through Arteta giving the team a more robust look, it has come at a cost to the creative side of our game,” Thomas told Caught Offside. “The players are playing very rigid.
“You need to be able to control the ball in areas that the opposing team doesn’t want to be and suffocate them. I think this will change in time but it needs to be sooner rather than later.
“Mesut Ozil obviously offers great creativity when he plays, but at what cost to the team’s efficiency?
“The team obviously needs more creativity going forward because they simply don’t have enough good efforts on goal. We are used to the frontline being played in behind, but recently everything seems to be in front of the opposition with no penetration or speed in the attacks.
“Another creative outlet is very needed whether it be Aouar or someone else.”
Thomas went on to address the continued struggles of Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe, insisting his output going forward hinges on Arteta’s preferred system.
He also weighed in Aubameyang being forced to take up an unnatural role out wide while looking ahead to the Gunners’ trip to Manchester United at the weekend, adding: “Pepe still has a lot to give but the creativity depends on Arteta getting the balance right between defensive stability and attacking threat.
“He has the ability to make the difference and hopefully he does so this Sunday.
“The wide role is not Aubameyang’s best position in my opinion, but the team are not creating enough for him anyway.”