As the Sky Sports News transfer window clock tickets below 7 days to go, Arsenal still have business to do.
The window “slams shut” at 11pm on 11pm BST on next Thursday. So what transfer saga’s will be resolved in the next 7 days?
The Wolves midfielder has been the big “new link” to Arsenal this week.
Over the course of the window, plenty of armchair scouts have said Neto is a player we should be targetting and this week David Ornstein dropped this:
Neto would be an interesting acquisition to the side.
His age, versatility, work rate and Premier League experience matches the profile of our recent transfer strategy.
The 22-year-old winger would provide cover and competition on both wings to Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.
With us having 50+ games to play this season, he would enable us to rest and rotate those wide men.
Last season we ran Bukayo Saka into the ground and without adequete competition, the same will happen this season. Signing Neto would be a coup and it would give Mikel Arteta 3 fantastic wide options.
The big stumbling block would be Wolves do not really want – or need – to sell. And Arsenal do not really have the funds to make an offer that they just can not refuse.
When you consider Morgan Gibbs-White was recently sold by Wolves to Nottingham Forest for £45million and Chelsea are considering spending £60million on Anthony Gordon, you begin to realise just how much it might take to secure Neto’s services.
Jorge Mendes relationship with Wolves could be key.
His agency (Gestifute) are in bed with the Midlands club who utilse the relationship to sign Portuguese players they have no right in signing.
Part of that agreement has to be that Mendes will push his clients towards Wolves, as long as Wolves sell on his clients when a “bigger” club comes in.
It is a “benefits all” agreement as Mendes gets talented young Portuguese players playing time in the Premier League, Wolves get players that are better than they’d naturally attract, and everyone makes a bit of money when they are sold on.
Wolves currently have 11 players that are signed with Gestifute. Can they afford to upset Mendes by refusing to sell one of his clients. It will be biting their nose of to spite their face.
Neto is a realistic target, but we would need Mendes to put the pressure on (and this will probably cost a few million in agents fees!)
I still maintain we will not be in for Youri Tielemans.
I just can not see the deal happening when we have quite a few “number 8s” now in Martin Odergaard, Granit Xhaka, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Emile Smith Rowe.
Arsenal were in for him early in the summer, I think that is clear and obvious, but as it progressed we moved for someone else (Vieira) and decided to stick with a current player (Xhaka).
Now some might begin having the debate between Xhaka and Tielemans, but it is one that is not worthwhile waisting your breath on.
Tielemans only comes in if Xhaka is sold. And as anyone who has watched All or Nothing will know, Xhaka is the leader on and off the pitch. He might not wear the armband but he is the captain.
Add in the Zinchenko can play in midfield and we are overloaded in the centre of the park.
The only place in central midfield we need to strengthen is cover for Partey. but Tielemans is not that!
And I expect us to go big for a defensive midfielder next summer who can go on to be a long term replacement for PArtey rather than short term cover.
Tielemans will not happen (disclaimer: unless Leicester drop the price to something silly!)
Rumours emerged a couple of weeks ago that Nicolas Pepe might be off to Nice on loan.
The Ivorian winger is clearly not in Mikel Arteta’s plans and was left out of the squad for the Bournemouth game.
Whilst Nice seem to be in pole position to buy, Leicester City have quietly been linked with him.
Leicester City need to sell to buy, and the likes of Wesley Fofana, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been linked with moves away.
If they sell one of these for big money, they might end up doing a transfer deadline day Supermarket Sweep and overpay for anyone they can get their hands on.
Another interested suitor could help Arsenal in negotiations with Nice – potentially allowing us to insert (or increase) any obtions or obligations to buy.
I think he will end up being a Nice player (and it might happen before this blog has been published). But keep an eye on Leicester.
Note: he joined Nice late last night…
It is surprising that there has been next to zero transfer speculation surrounding the future of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
In 2020 he was subject of a £15million bid from Wolves, and then in 2021 he was reportedly close to joining Leicester City.
On both occasions, he was denied his wish to leave and played very little in the first halves of the season. This resulted in loan deals (firstly to WBA, then to Roma).
His stock has certainlg dropped since 2020 – when he won 5 England caps and he turns 25 in a few days.
His career has stalled in the last 2 years – and Arsenal are to blame – and he now has just one year left on his contract.
The Ainsley Maitland-Niles saga has now been going on for 2-years and the lack of transfer speculation makes me think it will not be resolved this summer.
I just can not see where a bid will come from – unless a club that has started slowly becomes desperate and is happy splashing the cash.
More than likely is that this season will mirror the last 3 – he will remain at Arsenal doing very little before moving out on loan in January. He will then depart on a free next season.
The fturue of Hector Bellerin is a strange one.
He seems to want to return to Real Betis, but they reportedly do not have the finances to make a deal happen.
Bellerin was rumoured to have offered Arsenal to cancel his contract to get the move to enable Betis to finance a free transfer, but this has not materilised.
In recent days Bellerin has been linked with Barcelona.
Arsenal are reportedly demanding just £5million for Bellerin, but like Betis, Barcelona are holding out for a free transfer.
I can see this one going down to the last day and it will be “who blinks first” between all parties involved.
Plenty still for Arsenal to work in over the next 7 days. And with 2 games during this team, you begin to see why no top club has any manager / head coach involved in transfer dealings anymore.
Edu is set for a busy week.