Arsenal ended up neglecting to bring in a new central midfielder this summer, despite plenty of speculation linking them with Youri Tielemans, and then with Douglas Luiz on Deadline Day.
It seems the Gunners were serious about signing Aston Villa star Luiz, according to Fabrizio Romano in his exclusive CaughtOffside column, but the deal couldn’t be done after Villa rejected three offers and decided they considered the Brazilian untouchable.
Arsenal fans will no doubt be frustrated by this saga, especially as it seemed like Tielemans was there for the taking, though it seems their interest may not have been as advanced as it seemed.
Discussing Mikel Arteta’s search for a new midfielder, Romano admits that he thinks Tielemans could have been an ideal option, but it was never close due to the fact that Leicester’s asking price was considered too high for a player who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
“Youri Tielemans was always an option but Arsenal didn’t want to spend £35m on a player who would be out of contract in a few months, that’s why it was never close,” Romano explained.
“Arsenal only sign players when they’re 100% convinced, but, in my opinion, Tielemans was the perfect player for Arteta.
“Arsenal tried three times to sign Douglas Luiz on deadline day, but he was untouchable for Aston Villa and remained so until the last minute.
“They finally said no to an offer worth £25m plus add-ons – they wanted to keep the player, but he will be out of contract next summer and the feeling is that top clubs could come in for him again in January, or when he’s a free agent.”
Arsenal may have taken a bit of a gamble here as they’re now relying on Thomas Partey to stay fit and perform more consistently, while some lingering doubts remain over the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny as well.
Summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko could be an option centrally, though he mostly plays left-back, and AFC supporters may well feel the squad looks a little light in that area after the departures of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.
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