If Unai Emery was to be believed at his press conference at London Colney yesterday, the Gunners are satisfied with their work thus far during this summer’s transfer window. With most of a month still to play with, Arsenal have already signed 5 players, and done so within touching distance of their reportedly anaemic £50 million transfer budget (especially considering Lucas Torreira’s fee will be paid in instalments). However, it does not appear that the press got the message.
We are officially entering the banter end of the transfer window for the Gunners; the time when the club’s business is winding down and the focus returns to the training pitch. And yet, for some whose job it is to cover the madness of the transfer window, column inches must still be filled. This means a barrage of decreasingly probable rumours that are sure to pique the excitement of fans.
Unai Emery did leave open the possibility that another player could be brought in before the window slams shut, but to facilitate such a move would likely require the sale of multiple players at the back end of the squad. Even without another arrival, a necessary player exodus is likely as the Gunners currently have 7 more players in the squad than are allowed in their Europa League team, and this last month of the transfer window will see many of them leave, either on a permanent or temporary basis.
Pavon Deal Just Got Harder
There has been plenty of excitement in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week after Christian Pavon signed a new contract with a release clause of €50 million (£44.7m) to help insulate Boca Juniors from losing him for under his rapidly rising value. Boca club president Daniel Angelici is under no delusions that Pavon’s near future doesn’t involve a move to a European giant, but he has said that the winger wants to help his club in the Copa Libertadores before departing permanently.
The Gunners have long been linked to Pavon, whose profile has been rising steadily over the last 12 months. The 22 year old was included in the Argentinian World Cup squad this summer, and despite the tournament ending in massive disappointment for the proud nation, it has only further buoyed his profile. Now it is being reported that Arsenal will have to battle off Barcelona for his eventual signature, with Lionel Messi allegedly recommending his young international teammate to the club. If true, this would make for an uphill battle should the Gunners be serious about their interest. However, no matter who ultimately comes away with Pavon, as of this week they will have to pay a lot more for his services.
Another Barca Fullback?
Arsenal are once again interested in signing a 16 year old fullback from Barcelona. Back in 2011, the club brought in a young right back named Hector Bellerin, who has since gone on to become an important member of the first team today. Arsenal will be hoping to repeat the same trick once again with Joel Lopez, a talented left back who has reportedly decided his future lies away from the Catalan giants.
Lopez has recently taken to social media to leave an apparent goodbye message to Barcelona, and Arsenal are strong favourites to land the young Spaniard. Given his age and refusal to sign a new contract at the club, he will be available for a simple compensation fee; hardly a back breaker for Arsenal, who have done a good job pleading the pauper this summer. Could he follow the same path as Bellerin into the Arsenal first team?
A World Cup Finalist On The Radar?
With Croatia’s inspiring run to the World Cup Final yet to conclude, it is little surprise that several of the Croatian players have attracted the attention of both supporters and the news media. One such player, Ante Rebic, has begun attracting the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Arsenal and Bayern Munich both linked. Valued at €50 million by his club, Eintract Frankfurt, the 24 year old faces a tough decision once he returns from his country’s magical run to the final.
While some are convinced of his potential at the highest level, others have called his huge valuation into question, arguing that his play only began to pick up towards the end of the last Bundesliga campaign. For the price, and especially with a restrictive transfer budget, it is hard to see his value to Arsenal at this time.
N’Zonzi Links Persist
If there is one name that has continued to be linked to Arsenal throughout the summer more than any other, it has to be Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi. Standing at 6’5 and with a bevy of defensive skills the Gunners could use in the base of their midfield, as well as having played a hugely important role under current Arsenal boss Unai Emery during Sevilla’s Europa League winning run in 2015, it seems a logical addition for a club that could still be looking for midfield reinforcements.
N’Zonzi has Premier League experience after stints at Blackburn and Stoke earlier in his career, but at his age (29) and potential price tag (upwards of £40m, depending on the source) it does not look to be feasible at this time without Arsenal unloading some players to create the financial space for the French international. At this point, it seems to be the media most pushing this transfer rumour, as Emery gave nothing away when answering a question about the player yesterday at London Colney. N’Zonzi would be a beneficial addition to most clubs in need of defensive solidity in the midfield, but at this moment in time, he could simply be a luxury the Gunners cannot afford.
Oooooooospina…Is Likely To Leave
We turn our attention now to departures, and despite the overwhelming odds that this will be the Gunners’ primary focus for the remainder of the transfer window, few details exist in who these players might be. However, one player that appears certain to leave is Columbian goalkeeper David Ospina.
Ospina has already seen his club sign another goalkeeper in Bernd Leno this summer that should compete for the starting role, and he has committed to moving on in search of playing time. Valued at £6 million by Arsenal, Ospina continues to be linked to Boca Juniors. His agent has already come out on record to call Boca one of the biggest clubs in the world, and it appears that his move is on the cusp of completion. His World Cup run with Columbia ended last week at the hands of England, and he now has a little less than a month to finalise a move before the window slams shut.
That’s One…Who Joins Him?
It is highly likely that Ospina will be joined by multiple players on the way out of the club, but it is unclear whether many will leave on a permanent basis or merely through loans. Of the players most likely to be sold, Carl Jenkinson tops the list. The right back has seen his career fortunes take a sharp downturn since a serious knee injury 2 seasons ago, and how he appears to be on the outside looking in at a place in the first team.
Jenkinson is quiet an unassuming by nature, and he has not featured heavily (if at all) in the club’s excellent behind the scenes video work this summer. Sadly for Jenkinson, who is the only one left from the now infamous “young British core” photo from 2012, his future simply lies at a lower level of football. There is still time for him to build a decent career for himself, but it likely won’t be at Arsenal.