They have had to wait a little longer than anticipated, but Arsenal will finally welcome PSV Eindhoven to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday after the original fixture, scheduled for September 15, was postponed.
The decision was made due to concerns surrounding policing issues in the capital relating to events following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. football.london understands that Arsenal ideally wanted the game to go ahead before it was eventually decided that it would be best to rearrange it for another date altogether, which was confirmed as October 20.
After winning all three of their opening matches in Group A, Arsenal can secure a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League if they manage to beat PSV. However, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side, which currently sits second in the Eredivisie table, is full of exciting talent and arguably represents the Gunners’ toughest challenge in the competition yet.
Whilst he will be hoping that his players secure all three points, the clash also provides Mikel Arteta with the perfect opportunity to monitor some potential transfer targets up close ahead of January.
With so much at stake this season, the Spaniard and technical director Edu will know that the club’s chances of fulfilling its objectives can be boosted if further quality can be brought through the doors during the winter window. So with all of that in mind, football.london decided to pick out the five PSV players to keep an eye on.
Cody Gakpo will no doubt relish the opportunity to impress in front of the Emirates Stadium crowd, a stadium that could become his home in the future.
football.london understands the 23-year-old winger is admired by senior figures at Arsenal after he enjoyed a standout 2021/22 campaign, scoring 21 goals and providing 15 assists in all competitions. Gakpo has also had an impressive start to the new season, already racking up 24.
It has previously been reported that Arsenal were once the favourites to secure the players’ services, although recent interest from Southampton, Leeds United and Manchester United has perhaps seen the Gunners fall behind in the pecking order for now. Speaking to The Times, Gakpo said: “I was close to leaving PSV. I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United, in the end the deal didn’t go through and it was a shame.”
Having been linked with Arsenal throughout his time at Toulouse, Sangare eventually made the move to PSV in 2020. The Ivorian has since excelled and become one of the most talented defensive midfielders in Europe.
Breaking The Lines describes Sangare as a player who “has it all”, possessing strength, power, explosiveness, ball control and even a good long-range shot.
Standing at 6ft 3ins tall, the 24-year-old offers a noticeable presence in front of the back line and could be viewed as a like-for-like replacement for Thomas Partey moving forward.
An unknown to many, Joey Veerman is perhaps a name that has gone under the radar of late after PSV snapped up the midfielder for just £5million plus add-ons in January.
However, ten goals and 14 assists from all three of attacking, central and defensive midfield positions, as well as the left-wing last season, highlight a player with incredible versatility, talent and an eye for progressive play.
At 23, he would certainly fit the age profile for what Arsenal have been bringing in, as will his teammates mentioned above and below. Capable of adding much-needed flexibility and depth to the squad, Veerman is one to keep an eye on for the future, especially with Serie A side Atalanta reportedly keeping tabs on the Dutchman.
Someone who will be in familiar territory on Thursday is Noni Madueke, who was previously on the books at Tottenham. If the Lilywhites weren’t disappointed to see him leave back in 2018, then they certainly will be now.
Madueke is yet to play a single minute this season due to injury, but Van Nistelrooy confirmed he could be involved against Arsenal. The 20-year-old has developed into one of the most exciting young talents, offering explosive pace, strength and impressive ball control while also pulling out the tricks every now and then.
Currently representing the England Under-21s, Madueke is a handful for any opposition defender and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see more of him at senior international level in the years ahead. The winger, who mainly operates on the right flank, bagged 9 goals and provided 6 assists across 35 appearances last season despite several injury setbacks.
As an attacking midfielder, Xavi Simons may not be of as much interest to Arsenal compared to the other names on this list, but he still deserves a mention.
PSV secured quite the coup in the summer, beating off interest from a host of clubs to sign the former Paris Saint-Germain “wonderkid” on a free transfer, and it’s safe to say the move has worked out well so far.
The 19-year-old has taken to senior football in his home country by storm this season, scoring 10 goals and setting up another 4 in all competitions.