Having been linked with one Argentine striker throughout the summer transfer window, Arsenal may instead be making progress on landing another. Arsenal’s pursuit of Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has dominated the gossip pages, but a deal appears no closer to completion.
Napoli has remained insistent that the forward, who scored a record 36 goals in Serie A last season, will not be sold for anything less than his buyout clause of 94 million euros ($103 million). That has already been enough to scare off Juventus for the time being, while it would take a leap of fantasy to imagine Arsene Wenger opting to spend that much of Arsenal’s money on any player, let alone a 28-year-old who will be out of contract in two years’ time.
In fact, the Napoli president has claimed that Arsenal has not even made an offer, with Atletico Madrid so far the only team to do so.
"The only offer I've had was from the Atletico [Madrid] President [Enrique Cerezo] a month ago and I told him we couldn't do it,” Aurelio de Laurentiis said. “He offered me €60 million plus two or three players, and I said no."
It now appears as though there is more concrete interest from Arsenal in Higuain’s compatriot Mauro Icardi. The 23-year-old, who has scored 43 league goals in two seasons with Inter Milan, has been linked as a replacement for Higuain at Napoli and also as an alternative target for Juventus.
But now the player’s agent, and wife, Wanda Nara, is in London to hold talks with Arsenal, according to Italian outlet Corriere dell Sport. The publication also states that any deal could be worth 50 million euros ($55 million), with the player receiving a contract worth six million euros ($6.6 million) a year. At this stage, though, it remains to be seen how much of the interest is genuine and how much of it is simply the player and his agent trying to engineer a better contract at Inter.
Elsewhere, Talksport’s sources have indicated that Arsenal is one of the growing number of clubs pursuing Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Following Newcastle’s relegation last season and the France international’s impressive showings at Euro 2016, the 26-year-old looks almost certain to move on this summer.
Juventus, Everton, Borussia Dortmund and Crystal Palace are among the clubs to be linked, but Arsenal is now also said to be in the hunt. Unsurprisingly, though, it is claimed that the Gunners are unwilling to meet Newcastle’s hefty 35 million pounds ($46 million) asking price.
Sissoko is not the only midfielder linked with a transfer to the Emirates Stadium in recent days. According to The Sun, Arsenal and Chelsea are both pursuing Arda Turan, who they claim has been made available by Barcelona for 20 million euros ($22 million).
However, that story is contradicted by a statement from the player’s agent last week.
“The interest [in Arda] is normal but the rumors saying he is leaving Barcelona are false, he is happy at the club,” Ahmet Bulut told the Guardian.
It makes sense for Turan’s future to be in doubt after he failed to make an impact during his first season at the Camp Nou, but, aged 29, he would not be a typical signing for Wenger.
One player it appears Arsenal can almost certainly forget about welcoming this transfer window is Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter. The 22-year-old, primarily a center-back, but who has also played at right-back and in midfield, was suggested as a target for Arsenal to freshen up its defense. However, Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc told Bild: “Matthias is part of our plans for next season.”