Any individual that has spent time watching Arsenal since the start of the 2022/23 season will know the workload and pressure that weighs on the head of Bukayo Saka.

The Gunners star has played an incredible 65 games in the last two seasons for Mikel Arteta's side, missing only three games in total - the win over Manchester City in October, Carabao Cup win over Brentford in September and 3-1 loss to Brighton over 12 months ago.

Saka has also become a regular on the international stage, missing only three of England's 17 games since August 2022. Over the last 15 months, the 22-year-old has developed into one of football's best wide players.

However, with the sincere lack of rest, especially with the Qatar World Cup taking place in the middle of the season, comes the constant anxiety of unnecessary muscle problems. The Hale Ender has previously suffered with minor knee, hamstring and ankle problems at the start of his senior career, but his thigh has become an issue.

Saka picked up the injury in the Champions League defeat to RC Lens. Having spent the October's international break at London Colney, Saka has started all four of the Gunners' last four games. However, he hasn't been at his best.

His form since breaking into the first team gives him some breathing room in terms of rediscovering his best, but what has become obvious is the need for another player capable of filling in for him. Reiss Nelson (one goal and one assist in 11 appearances) and Emile Smith Rowe (one goal in eight appearances) have both seen their minutes limited with Leandro Trossard Arteta's first choice as deputy to Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

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The January transfer window opens in just over a month and how Edu Gaspar goes about his business is up for debate. There's an argument that a new central defender is required as well as a new centre-forward. However, the constant alarm bells around Saka's fitness levels mean a versatile, attack-minded footballer has to be prioritised.

As we all know, there's an array of quality attackers who are capable of damaging opponents via inside runs. But as Arsenal found out with Mykhailo Mudryk last year, these types of players come at a premium.

However, the Gunners could capitalise on the problematic financial situation at Olympique Lyonnais to sign one of their most expensive assets. Last month, the Financial Times reported the French club's desire to raise around €300million (£261.9million) by selling some of its assets - including a new 16,000-seater arena.

John Textor's Lyon have suffered a torrid start to the season with them sitting rock bottom of Ligue 1 with one win from 11. The American billionaire has declared his ambition to generate funds to invest in youth academies and player development.

The report does state that the plan is to sell a series of off-the-field assets, but the talent in the squad at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais could be targeted by some of Europe's elite.

Rayan Cherki is Lyon's best player. The 20-year-old has already made over 110 appearances for Les Gones, earning him links to Chelsea and Real Madrid. understands the Blues were keen to sign the France Under-21s international in the summer but Cole Palmer was instead signed.

Rayan Cherki
Rayan Cherki is the perfect signing for Arsenal this January

Real Madrid have also been linked with a move for the forward after emerging on to their radar for some time. Carlo Ancelotti's side are short in attack after losing Karim Benzema in the summer.

However, rumours have gone quiet in recent weeks and amid Lyon's potential relegation scrap, the door could be left open for Arsenal to swoop in. Cherki's contract in France expires in 2025 meaning he may become available for slightly less than his €60million (£52.3million) valuation.

The versatile attacker has started three games at right wing, three games in central attacking midfielder and two at left-wing this season for Lyon. Not many players, at such a young age, have the capability of playing in a number of positions across the attacking line.

Cherki would be the dependable deputy to Saka that Nelson and Smith Rowe have simply failed to provide. A future France international, Edu and Arteta have to consider the move.

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