Arsenal have not lost a player they did not want to sell since Robin Van Persie’s departure in the summer of 2012, but reports this morning suggest that could be about to change.
The Sunday Express claim that Bayern Munich are keen on defender Laurent Koscielny, who won further plaudits following a series of impressive performances for France in the Euros. The Bavarians have been linked with Koscielny in the past, and want the 30-year-old to be high-class back up to Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.
Koscielny has only one year remaining on his Arsenal contract, always a worrying predicament because the player is free to talk to suitors from January onwards. Talks are said to have stalled on a fresh £90,000 per week deal, although Koscielny appears happy at the club and has shown no signs of agitating for a move.
It is regular practice that these types of story start to emerge in the course of contract negotiations, with agents keen to push clubs into giving their client the best deal. Moreover, Arsenal’s abundant wealth means they can afford to run down Koscielny contract should the worst come to the worst; unlike when Van Persie and Samir Nasri left in the past.
Almost every player in the world would give Bayern a second look, but Koscielny won’t want to sit on the bench at the Allianz Arena. The likely net result of this speculation is a new deal at Arsenal above the £100,000 a week threshold.
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol stated yesterday that according to Napoli’s official radio station, Gonzalo Higuain would ‘certainly’ join Arsenal for €50, plus Olivier Giroud. However, renowned journalist and Italian football analyst James Horncastle took to Twitter to say that the radio station in question, Kiss Kiss FM, was no more Napoli’s official station than Kiss FM is Arsenal’s.
It seems there is a genuine interest in Higuain (why wouldn’t there be), but it is highly unlikely that Arsene Wenger would sanction a deal involving Giroud. Were Danny Welbeck fully fit, he might think differently, but Arsenal need quantity as well as quality up front so selling Giroud makes little sense.
Most fair-minded Arsenal fans are supportive of Giroud, who has 82 goals in 145 Arsenal starts in all competitions, but want him to be an excellent alternative rather than first-choice. In many respects, it is not the Frenchman’s individual quality that fans object to, but rather the style of football that he forces teams to play should he start.
Elsewhere, La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Arsenal are eyeing Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic in a £21 million deal from Inter. This is not the first report to link Arsenal with Brozovic, and Wenger has been vocal in his praise of Croatian football and the calibre of players they produce.
However, with Mohammed Elneny and Granit Xhaka recent additions to a midfield crop of Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal look well stocked in this area.
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