The smoke and mirrors surrounding Arsenal’s search for a centre forward continues this morning, with an Italian journalist claiming the Gunners are working on a ‘secret deal’ for an unknown striker.
Emanuele Giulianelli reports the Gunners remain interested in Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette but only as a back-up option if the deal for an ‘unnamed’ striker falls through.
Giulianelli said: “Arsenal are working on a secret name, not yet revealed, and the recent trip to Germany of some club members could mean something.”
In the absence of a name, it is difficult to pass comment and it must be considered if the journalist in question is merely trying to increase his Twitter following.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has said that only Real Madrid could tempt him from Borussia Dortmund, and his wage demands are likely to be stratospheric.
Arsenal do have a long-standing interest in Wolfsburg attacker Julian Draxler, with Arsene Wenger said to favour converting him into a striker; as he did with Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.
It is worth taking this rumour with a healthy pinch of salt, but given Wenger’s recent comments about the transfer window being a game of poker, perhaps there is something bubbling under the surface.
Giulianelli also said Arsenal were interested in a wide player, hardly news given that their interest in Riyad Mahrez has become public knowledge.
Speaking to ESPN, Claudio Ranieri pleaded Mahrez to stay at a club where he can be the ‘light’ rather than move to a club where there are so many ‘lights’.
Ranieri’s public plea is in stark contrast to the silence he kept over Jamie Vardy – it seems a case of the manager doth protest too much.
It will almost impossible for Leicester to keep Mahrez should he set his heart on leaving. At 29, Jamie Vardy’s outlook was focused on his next, and final, big contract. At 25, Mahrez is at an age where he can dream a bit more and that could well prove the difference between the Foxes two stars.
Per Mertesacker has flown home from Arsenal’s pre-season tour of America with a knee injury, with some rumours suggesting he could be out for as much as five months.
That could force Arsenal’s hand, with Wenger on the record saying he is still looking for ‘defensive positions’, despite the acquisition of Rob Holding from Bolton.
The Daily Star are reporting that the Gunners have made contact with Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi.
If Mertesacker’s injury turns out to be as serious as is claimed, expect a plethora of centre-backs to be linked with Arsenal in the weeks to come. Would Mustafi be the answer? He is of a different type to Mertesacker, standing at just over six foot rather than towering over all like the international centurion.
Mustafi would be a more similar option to Laurent Koscielny, so in Mertesacker’s absence, it would interesting to see if the two complemented one another, or were in fact too alike.
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