Mikel Arteta has identified his top Arsenal transfer targets ahead of the summer window, with Gabriel Jesus, Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves touted for big-money moves
The summer transfer window is almost here!
When the calendar flips over to Friday, June 10, clubs across Europe can officially start doing business. One of the most anticipated summers to look out for is Arsenal ‘s after they capitulated in the final days of last season to miss out on a Champions League spot and hand bitter rivals Tottenham a place in the continent’s premier competition.
Now, though, manager Mikel Arteta has the chance to upgrade the Gunners’ firepower, building on what was still a positive campaign on the whole. Working alongside technical director Edu, who has publicly stated that the club are hoping to make two marquee signings between now and September 1, Arteta has been scouring the market to assemble shortlist crammed with talent which will be whittled down as the months go by.
With that in mind, here’s the state of play for Arsenal’s five main transfer targets ahead of the window opening.
A player first linked to Arsenal before the end of last term, Manchester City ace Jesus worked under Arteta before the Spaniard took the reins in North London. The 25-year-old Brazil international played a crucial role in City’s title win last time out, but their acquisitions of Erling Haaland and, perhaps more crucially, Julian Alvarez have thrown Jesus’ career at the Etihad into jeopardy.
Reports surfaced as early as mid-April that the former Palmeiras sensation would be open to joining Arsenal in a bid for more regular game time ahead of the World Cup, with talks between its representatives and Edu said to have stretched back months. But after looking like the only real potential suitors for Jesus, the Gunners face competition in Chelsea, Tottenham and Real Madrid.
Arteta and Co. clearly have a vision for the Brazilian striker and it has been claimed that the club are even willing to double his current salary to £ 200,000 per week, demonstrating how keen they are are to bring him to the Emirates after Alexandre Lacazette’s departure to Lyon was confirmed.
Meanwhile, Darwin Nunez and Victor Osimhen are names on the continent who are continuously linked to Arsenal, while the Gunners have also been keeping tags on Everton talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The trio are each expected to cost even more than Jesus, who City would reportedly allow to leave for £ 42million.
To midfield now, another area of Arsenal’s squad in dire need of reinforcements this summer. Having struggled to find a solution to winning games without the frequently-absent Thomas Partey, Edu was close to bringing Juventus playmaker Arthur Melo in during the January window.
Now, though, the Gunners have set their sights on Leicester ‘s Youri Tielemans, who has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest central midfielders since joining the Foxes initially on loan back in January 2019. But now the Belgian’s contract is 12 months away from expiring, with a new deal unlikely to be agreed.
The 25-year-old Tielemans has already admitted his desire to play Champions League football in what was a blow to Arteta’s chances of seducing him to North London for a cut-price fee. Still, the ex-Anderlecht phenomenon, who flopped at Monaco, is reportedly the Gunners’ priority signing in midfield, and could be available for only £ 25million.
If Tielemans is Arsenal’s top target, Ruben Neves is firmly second on the shortlist. The Wolves midfielder, another 25-year-old yet to reach his prime, has been in a tug of war between the Gunners and Manchester United for – at least according to the barrage of reports – an entire year.
Neves has been a true stalwart at Molineux since Wolves’ promotion to the Premier League in 2018, missing just three games through injury, a period which came towards the conclusion of last season. Experienced in European football with Porto and the Portuguese national team, the deep-lying playmaker would compliment Partey while offering some defensive nous in his absence.
This one looks a goer, too, with Neves’ current club already searching for a replacement in the form of Sporting Lisbon star Palhinha. Wolves’ technical director, Scott Sellars, has also admitted that they will consider offers for Neves by telling club media last week: “The ideal situation is we want him to stay. But I’m also realistic that when you’ve got an outstanding player then the top clubs are going to come and try to see what the situation is. ”
Looking towards defense, Arteta could work his personal charm with another player he used to coach at Manchester City: all-rounder Zinchenko. The central midfielder-turned-left-back has performed admirably under Pep Guardiola – hence why the Ukrainian icon boasts four Premier League winners’ medals – but is chomping at the bit for more helpings of first-team football.
Another member of City’s star-studded squad who excelled in the later end of the campaign, Arsenal are expected to go in for Zinchenko – yet again 25 – amid competition from West Ham. It has been reported that Arteta has offered him the chance to play in his preferred midfield position next term, giving the Gunners an advantage which could prove vital.
Finally, Arsenal are said to be targeting a player with a similar profile to those they signed in the summer of 2021, when shelling out more than £ 150million on talents aged 23 or younger. Coincidentally still a teenager until Friday, Hickey has had a sensational rise to prominence with Serie A side Bologna, who the Gunners bought right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu from last August.
Join the debate! Who should Arsenal prioritize signing this summer? Tell us your picks in the comments section.
Now a fully-fledged Scotland international, Hickey’s versatility was on show during the Tartan Army’s heartbreaking 3-1 defeat by Ukraine in a World Cup qualification play-off semi-final last week, playing 90 minutes at right wing-back. A left-sided defender or midfielder by trade, the 19-year-old’s stock is only rising and Arsenal could swoop before his price tag skyrockets, reuniting him with compatriot Kieran Tierney at club level.
Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport recently claimed that the Gunners had outbid West Ham and Brentford with a 75 21.75million offer and a move to the Emirates is described as being ‘very likely’. Given his tender age, Heart of Midlothian academy product Hickey seems one for the future but could be Arteta and Co.’s most immediate signing.