Arsene Wenger’s pursuit of defenders to add to his depleted rear-guard at the Emirates Stadium once more is the order of the day. After shipping four goals on the opening weekend at home to Liverpool, the Gunners’ patchwork defence fared much better at the King Power Stadium in a goal-less draw with Leicester, but Wenger under increasing pressure is aware that more experience is required for his back four to help propel the North Londoners to another top four finish this season.
To this end, it seems that rumoured interest in one potential target has become far more concrete, with the Mirror reporting that the Gunners have made an enquiry for AS Monaco defender Marcel Tisserand. http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/arsenal-make-transfer-approach-marcel-8685391
The 23-year old DR Congo international has struggled to establish himself in the first-team at the Stade Louis II, having had loan spells at fellow French clubs RC Lens and Toulouse, though the report also claims that the Gunners have competition in the market, since RCD Espanyol and Saint-Étienne have both been monitoring the player.
He is a versatile defender who can play in the centre-half position as well as out in right-back, and Wenger may well be preparing to table a bid with Arsenal desperate to get a defender through the door before the transfer window slams shut, with the long-running deal for Shkodran Mustafi continuing to drag on.
Regarding other transfer targets to add to Arsenal’s backline, the Gunners’ search seems to have hit another brick wall, with spiralling prices halting their progress once again after West Bromwich Albion slapped a £25million price tag on the head of their Northern Ireland international defender Jonny Evans, claims the Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/08/22/arsenal-suffer-another-transfer-setback-as-west-brom-demand-25m/
The Black Country club are looking to add to their own resources, with manager Tony Pulis singling out forward options, and with Evans a vital part of their defence, a critical aspect in Pulis’ tactical set-up at the Hawthorns, the Baggies are desperate not to lose one of their main men at the back so close to the end of the window and thus will not part with him for any more than the adequate fee. Given that £25million seemed a push even for the Mustafi chase, it seems that former Manchester United defender Evans will be staying in the West Midlands unless Arsenal are prepared to stump up the cash.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s long drawn-out pursuit of German international Shkodran Mustafi had already hit a snag when it emerged that Valencia were looking to hold out for a fee in the region of 50million Euros (£43.1million), astronomical compared to the initial £25million that was discussed. Now Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has cast further doubt over the completion of the deal, in an interview with Sky Sports. http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11670/10547695/shkodran-mustafi-set-to-stay-at-valencia-and-frustrate-arsenal-says-guillem-balague
With Mustafi’s elevated buy-out clause a major stumbling block in negotiations, Balague told Sky Sports News:
“The coaching staff at Valencia think Mustafi will not go, and this is the same message being made by the club”.
“They insist that the only way Mustafi will be allowed to leave is if Arsenal trigger his 50million Euros (£43.1million buy-out clause, which I think everybody will agree is too much money for him”.
Besides the issue of Mustafi’s inflated buy-out clause, Balague also raised concerns over Valencia’s reluctance to part with the German with transfer deadline day a little over a week away.
“Valencia’s position is such because they don’t think they can find someone to replace him, given the proximity of transfer deadline day. So as things stand Mustafi won’t be leaving Valencia.”
“I heard Arsene Wenger confirm publicly that Arsena were in negotiations with the player. That is very rare for him to do so and perhaps he is trying to apply some pressure on Valencia to sell”.
Balague also shared the news on social media, taking to Twitter to emphasise the latest developments from the Mestalla, and it seems increasingly likely that only an Arsenal compromise over the fee will see Mustafi in an Arsenal shirt beyond the transfer window:
VFC don't want to sell and are saying he wont go! He'll play tomorrow. Only doubt: will AFC pay €50m buyout clause? https://t.co/mcNxbLoems
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 21, 2016
With set-back beyond set-back so far in the transfer window for Arsenal, with the continual problem of inflated transfer fees it seems to be becoming more and more apparent that Arsenal will have to go with the hard-ball game of some clubs and budge over the hefty price-tags of their target players if they are to bring in reinforcements this window before their time is up.
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