Arsenal are keen on Upamecano while Partey-Lacazette swap and Willian deal are ‘possible’

Arsenal are interested in signing a centre back and everyone at the club is keen to bring RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano to North London this summer according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail in an interview with TouchyGooners. The Daily Mail reporter discussed Arsenal in great detail and provided insights on Arsenal’s plans for the summer. 

Regarding Upamecano, Mokbel said:

“I think Arteta and Arsenal are in the market for a center half. I think one that Arsenal would definitely like to do is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano. Everyone from manager to the board to recruitment staff are on board to get this over the line.”

The Gunners have had a long standing interest in the French defender and had a bid in the region of £55 million rejected by RB Leipzig last summer. Upamecano has only one year remaining on his contract. The German club are believed to be keen to tie Upamecano to a new deal this summer but if they fail to do so will sell the player to avoid losing him for free next summer. 

Mokbel went on to talk about Arsenal’s interest in Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and discussed the likelihood of a swap deal involving the Ghanaian midfielder and Alexander Lacazette. He said:

“I still think they’re certainly in the market for a dominant central midfielder. Partey would be their first choice there. But the money would be a problem. There has been a lot of talk regarding a swap deal between Lacazette and Thomas Partey at Atletico Madrid. As outrageous as that sounds, I certainly see credence. Arsenal and Arteta definitely like Partey. That is nailed on. But the finances would preclude that from happening because they simply don’t have the kind of money that Atletico would want. That would mean they would have to look through their squa to find a player Atleti would take. Would they swap Partey for Lacazette? I don’t know. But I think that one may have legs.”

Recent reports suggest that the Rojiblancos are already eyeing up a replacement for Partey so that could be an indication that some sort of deal to take the player to Arsenal is a very real possibility.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s captain and talisman has only one year remaining on his contract. His future at the club has dominated headlines and Mokbel does not sound too optimistic about the player signing an extension at Arsenal. He said:

“Those conversations have been had with Auba. The finances will obviously be an issue. It will be hard for Arsenal to find the kind of money for Aubameyang to say, ‘This is an offer too good to refuse, I’ve got to sign this.’ In that case, what they have to do is try to convince Aubameyeang about Arteta’s project. I do think Aubameyang is on board with Arteta and what he’s trying to do. But he’s almost 30. He’s not won an awful lot. He’s won one german cup with Borussia Dortmund.”

“I think time is running out for Aubameyang to win the top honours. The question he’s asking is: ‘Can i satisfy my career ambitions of winning major trophies by staying at Arsenal?’ Only he can answer that. I would suggest probably not. I think the rebuild at Arsenal will probably take more than two seasons and three or four windows and Aubameyang doesn’t have that kind of time.” 

“I understand why he’s stalling. Do I expect him to stay? I don’t. That leaves the ball in Arsenal’s court. Do they try to get as much money as they can for him this summer or let him run down his contract and leave for free next year?”

Regarding what Arsenal can expect to sell Aubameyang for, he said:

“Pre-covid with one year on his contract I would have said £50-60 million. Now, post covid, I think they’d be lucky to get £30 million. Mainly because of his age because clubs won’t get sell-on potential with the Auba deal. Clubs will look at that and be more frugal about their spending. They will look at Aubameyang and think its not worth the risk.”

Super agent Kia Joorabchian’s links to the Arsenal hierarchy have troubled many an Arsenal fan. Cedric Soares and David Luiz, who recently signed new deals at the club, are both his clients. On Joorabchian’s influence at the club, Mokbel said:

“Clubs having preferred agents to work with isn’t something that is completely brand new and exclusive to Arsenal. What that means is certain deals are easier to complete than others because that agent will have better ties to certain clubs or other agents so certain players are more accessible for the club.”

“A player like Willian would certainly fit that bill. Could Arsenal go out and try to loan a player like Coutinho, another Kia player? Could that be an option? I don’t necessarily see a massive problem with Joorabchian being so ‘influential’ at the club because every premier league club has got one or two preferred representatives who do a lot of their deals for them. It just so happens that Joorabchian has a lot of high profile players who Arsenal would take in a heartbeat.”

“I think from the outside looking in, many supporters are uncomfortable with the growing links between Joorabchian and Arsenal. But, when you break it all down, what fans want the most is to have a successful team. If in any way, Kia or any other gent can facilitate that, then I can only see that as a positive thing.”

Arsenal are known to be keen to offload Mesut Ozil who is the highest earner at the club. Mokbel said:

“The club have tried to offload him for the last two summers. When you’re earning £350,000 a week, you don’t really want to leave.”

The Gunners have been linked with Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu for the last few months. Mokbel was one of the reporters who wrote about this story when news of this move first broke. Regarding Kokcu, he said:

“The Orkun one is an interesting one. The interest is definite. I know that there has been a level of discussions about this before Covid. The pandemic will inevitably have an impact on how much money clubs have to spend, particularly Arsenal who have got a big wage bill anyway and have been keen to cut their wage bill for the past few seasons. Interest still stands in Kokcu. But whether a deal can still be done in this climate, I’m not entirely convinced. What they’re relying on, I’m told, unless there’s an unbelievable deal they can’t say no to, is free transfers, swaps and loans. If they can maybe get Ozil out, I can certainly see the Kokcu deal happening. He looks like a cheaper replacement for Ozil.”

Arsenal are said to be interested in signing Chelsea’s Willian on a free transfer this summer. On these rumours, Mokbel said:

“I think Willian is a good shout. If I was a betting man, I would put money on Willian ending up at Arenal. All the components are in place for that. He’s already in London. His agent has very close links to the club now. It seems like every aspect that needs to fall into place for Willian to go there is now in situ and that deal can certainly happen.”

Matteo Guendouzi has been in the news for all the wrong reasons these past few days. His issues related to attitude and discipline seem to be constantly getting him in hot water. There has been a lot of reports that Arsenal would be open to selling him. Mokbel said:

“If Arsenal can get a like for like replacement for Guendouzi and sell him for decent money, it wouldn’t surprise me if Arteta was happy to do that deal. I think Arteta does believe that Guendouzi has got an attitude problem. It is up to the manager to try to iron out flaws in a player’s game but does he have time to do that?”

“Arsenal need champions league football. They’re probably not going to get it this season but they need it double quick because the finances are suffering as a result of not playing in the competition.  Guendouzi’s a problem for Arteta because there’s obviously talent there and he doesn’t want to get talent go. But equally, you need players you can rely on. The question Arteta has to ask himself is, can he rely on Guendouzi? I don’t think he can at the moment.”

Bukayo Saka has had a standout season at Arsenal this year. He has scored three goals and provided ten assists in all competitions. The player has one year remaining on his contract and fans have been nervous about this situation. Arteta recently said he was confident that the Arsenal academy graduate would renew his contract shortly. Mokbel said:

“Those negotiations are pretty far down the line. The thing with that deal is, Saka knows he’s going to play and will have regular minutes under Arteta. The Arsenal hierarchy obviously likes him and Arteta plays him. He will nurture his progress. That won’t necessarily be the case if he moves to another top six side. In my personal opinion, his best option is to stay and continue his development under Arteta. Based on my knowledge, I believe Arteta said he expects the deal to be done. I expect that to be confirmed in the not too distant future.”

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