Transfers

Top 5 Arsenal Transfer Targets Analysed

 • by Andrew Gibney
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Arsenal are working hard to give themselves the best chance of finishing in the top four this season.

After a campaign that largely disappointed, a change of formation sparked an FA Cup win and hope that Arsène Wenger could still be the man to lead them forward.

Signing Alexandre Lacazette in a record £46.5million deal was a huge step in the right direction while links with Kylian Mbappé and the ongoing pursuit of Thomas Lemar show they mean business.

With the Lyon striker arriving, joined by Sead Kolašinac, it has been a good summer so far for fans at the Emirates. But Wenger will hope for a few more arrivals to make it a great one.

We’ve analysed the top five Arsenal whispers on the Football Whispers Index at the moment.

Thomas Lemar – Monaco to Arsenal – 3.6

Top 5 Arsenal Targets Analysed

It’s the rumour that won’t go away and Arsenal think it will cost £55million to land Thomas Lemar this summer.

Although Wenger wouldn’t admit it publicly, perhaps Alexis Sánchez leaving the Emirates would spark the French boss into making a bid that would see the Monaco midfielder arrive in England.

The Daily Star picked the value and it would see seem wide of the mark. Any chance of prising the France international away from the Stade Louis II became tougher this week with Benjamin Mendy’s £52million switch to Manchester City.

Monaco don’t have to sell; they see Lemar as part of their squad next season and the player doesn’t seem desperate to force a move.

With 14 goals and 17 assists in all competitions, it would likely take something above £60millon to get the Ligue 1 champions to talk about his transfer this window and that might only happen if Sanchez exits.

William Carvalho – Sporting Lisbon to Arsenal – 3.0

William Carvalho would be an excellent signing for West Brom.

Wenger, if he can think about anything but Lemar at the moment, also seems to be targeting a central midfielder this summer.

Arsenal need an upgrade in the middle of the park; someone of a battling nature, something Arsenal have lacked all too often. The Mirror suggest they could be back in for the Portugal international.

The Gunners made a €23million bid for William Carvalho during the 2014/15 season but were unsuccessful. After winning the 2016 European Championships with Portugal, he surprisingly stayed at Sporting and now the Portuguese club are waiting for someone to trigger his €45million release clause.

There is talk that president Bruno de Carvalho will be willing to make a deal with any potential suitors. Portuguese newspaper Record suggests that €30million would be enough due to his desire to play in England and the fact he hasn’t improved much on the potential he showed a few years ago.

Carvalho would fit perfectly in front of a four or three-man back-line, shielding the defence. He is calm and composed on the ball, making him the ideal link man for Wenger.

Tall, strong and good in possession, Carvalho is an impressive all-rounder who won two tackles per 90 minutes last season and made 1.4 interceptions.

And with 73.6 passes per 90, he is no stranger to controlling the pace of a game, something that is needed for any Arsenal midfielder.

Mario Lemina – Juventus to Arsenal – 2.5

Last week Italian newspaper Tuttosport reported that Galatasaray had failed in a bid to take Mario Lemina on loan from Juventus for the season, suggesting the Italian club were waiting for a formal bid from Arsenal.

The Bianconeri are asking for £17.5million for the Gabonese midfielder, keen to make a profit on the 23-year-old.

He is also a Watford transfer target but the Gunners would jump top of the list of potential suitors if their interest is real.

Positionally, it’s a move that makes sense. At Lorient in Ligue 1, Lemina was a central midfielder who showed combative skills and a desire to win ball back. Impressive technically, he looked promising going forward too.

Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli claims the Juventus man is very keen on a move to north London and the player has spoken in the past of his desire to leave the Turin outfit in search of regular game time.

“I want to play more,” he said. “I think it’s right for me to play more, find a club capable of giving me more space. At 23 I want to show what I can do.”

Tuttosport is Juventus-centric newspaper but there are a few reasons to believe this is more a ploy to gather interest in the player, rather than an actual potential move. Most of what is reported is talk from various sources, with the player’s representatives staying quiet about their client’s future.

Rafinha – Barcelona to Arsenal – 2.4

Barcelona midfielder Rafinha celebrates scoring in LaLiga

After starting just 14 La Liga games for Barcelona last season, Rafinha has been linked with move away from the Camp Nou.

According to the Daily Express, the 24-year-old has been offered to the Gunners for £27million which, in the current market, is supposed to represent a bargain.

The Brazilian has Sergio Busquets, Ivan Ratikić and Andrés Iniesta ahead of him competing for a place in Barça’s 4-3-3. He has had to miss their pre-season tour due to a knee injury and, although he would still like to impress new boss Ernesto Valverde, he isn’t ruling out a move this summer.

“My future is open and only God knows what will happen,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I am a Barcelona player and the most important thing now is to recover from my knee injury and then you will see what happens. All I can say is that everything is open.”

It’s hard to see where he would fit in Wenger’s plans. The Frenchman already has Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain able to play centrally and join the attack. Plus, Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny to accommodate through the middle.

Arsenal would be better off looking for a more defensive player to add to their midfield. Rafinha scored six times and added two assists in 18 games and he would be a good signing for someone. But there’s no real place for him in north London.

Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City to Arsenal – 2.3

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Riyad Mahrez was reportedly close to joining Roma this summer but a £30million bid was rejected by Leicester City. Now, reports in Italy suggest sporting director Monchi will fly to America to speak to chairman James Pallotta about their next move.

That could still open the door for Arsenal to make a move for the Algerian winger.  It was suggested on Monday the Foxes had agreed to lower their asking price to £40million.

What doesn’t make sense is where these new reports come from. None of the publications reporting this new information say where it has come from which isn’t a good indicator of reliable information this summer.

Mahrez failed to repeat his success of the 2015/16 campaign, when he won the PFA Player of the Year award en-route to the Premier League title.

But with another six weeks of the transfer window remaining, it’s far too early for the former Champions to drop their demands.

Mahrez has been a long-term Arsenal transfer target and the former Le Havre man could be an alternative if they don’t land Lemar. However, if Roma increase their bid he might not be around once the Gunners come calling.

At his best, Mahrez would be a superb option off the wing in Arsenal’s front-three. More dynamic than Mesut Özil in the final third, he has the dribbling ability to tear apart stubborn defences, which can be the Gunners’ Achilles heel all too often.

It’s a transfer that would make sense but one that is still a long way from happening.

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