Barcelona are aiming to get a £45m deal done for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin before the end of June, but will turn to Benfica’s Nelson Semedo if the signing proves problematic.
While the 22-year-old Bellerin is understood to want the return to his boyhood club, and Barca believe it will be done, there is a need for haste as it is felt that Arsenal will let no more than two players go amid what could be a summer of high turnover at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger is also hoping to fend off interest in Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while making a series of signings himself. Although it is now expected that Ozil will stay, Barca want to get any deal for Bellerin quickly, as it is felt Wenger will be completely unwilling to negotiate if they suddenly face a series of approaches for players - as reported last month by The Independent.
Arsenal summer transfer targets
Arsenal summer transfer targets
1/10 Arsenal summer transfer targets
Which players might Arsenal attempt to sign this summer?
2/10 Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon
Last summer saw Arsenal attempt to sign Lacazette, only for Lyon to refuse to sell the “irreplaceable” striker. It is more widely expected that he will depart this summer, however, in a recent interview the player confirmed he will be looking to play Champions League football. With Arsenal unable to qualify for the competition, it seems unlikely he'll be willing to join the side with a number of other clubs closely circling. Murmurs of a £60m price-tag will make him available to a select few teams.
3/10 Arda Turan, Barcelona
It has been strongly rumoured that Arsenal will target the 30-year-old Turkish midfielder this summer. Turan has not had the desired impact at the Camp Nou, registering just three goals and assists in 18 league appearances this term. While this increases the likelihood that Barcelona will offload the playmaker, it also raises questions over whether Arsenal will risk bringing him in. £25m is the touted price, which is certainly within the club’s reach.
4/10 Pablo Fornals, Malaga
At just 21, central midfielder Pablo Fornals has impressed domestically with strugglers Malaga this season, so much so that he has already been handed his full debut for Spain by manager Julien Lopetegui. Santi Cazorla’s injury ravaged season has cast doubts over his future at Arsenal and at 32 years old, it would be sensible to find a replacement. Arsenal have struggled to identify a reliable midfield partnership since Cazorla’s season-ending injury and the pragmatic Fornals, at around £15m, is reported to be a prime target for the club to solve the issue.
5/10 Patrik Schick, Sampdoria
The 21-year-old Czech centre forward has made headlines recently after a series of impressive performances for his club and country. With 13 goals in 31 appearances in Serie A this season, he is not the most prolific of strikers but has proven his impressive technical ability and physical attributes. With Olivier Giroud rumoured to be nearing an exit, 6ft 2in Schick could be viewed as an ideal replacement. Chelsea and Tottenham are also rumoured to be interested, as well as a host of foreign clubs, and there is believed to be a £21 million release clause in the player’s contract, meaning the highly rated striker is affordable.
6/10 Ben Chilwell, Leicester
The 20-year-old left-back is a realistic target for the Gunners, who are reportedly long term admirers of the player. Chilwell is capped by England at U18 level and would be an affordable and logical signing. First choice left back Nacho Monreal is now 31 and back up Kieran Gibbs has failed to assert himself at the top level. The potential of selling Gibbs, as well as other home-grown players, also means that Arsenal will need to sign another one to ensure they meet the FA’s regulations. His contract runs until 2021 and it is likely he would cost between £5-7m.
7/10 Rick Karsdorp, Feyenoord
Arsenal were said to be keen on a move for the young Dutch back in January until Arsene Wenger shut down the rumours. His words, however, were that although Karsdorp is a ‘good player’, Arsenal were not ‘in the transfer market’ in January. With the summer window beckoning, the club look sure to offload Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy who have fallen far out of favour. Karsdorp, 22, recently signed an improved contract offer until 2021 - yet this could realistically mean little if Arsenal are serious about signing him.
8/10 Leon Goretzka, Schalke:
The 22-year-old German midfielder is the second Schalke midfielder on this list. When playing at VfL Bochum, Goretzka’s head coach Peter Neuruer described him as the “talent of the century”. He is a versatile player who is most comfortable deployed as a central midfielder but has played behind the striker and out wide in his time at Schalke. Sporting Director Christian Heidel recently confirmed that he has not yet held decisive talks with Goretzka amid doubts over his future, with just one season remaining on his contract. This situation means he could be snapped up for around £20m.
9/10 Virgil van Dijk, Southampton
With Per Mertesacker nearing the end of his Arsenal career, despite that stellar FA Cup performance, van Dijk will certainly come into consideration. The 25 year-old centre back is highly sought-after in the league and is a realistic target for anybody with money. With Arsenal out of the Champions League, it would be difficult to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City for both financial and footballing reasons. Southampton are thought to want around £50m for the Dutchman.
10/10 Kylian Mbappe, Monaco
Mbappe is one of the hottest properties in Europe and is perhaps a surprise inclusion on the list. Robert Pires shocked supporters when he declared that he believes his former club ‘will sign’ the French starlet, coinciding with Wenger’s confession that Arsenal are interested in Mbappe. However, the financial muscle and prestige of other clubs will likely prove an issue. Reports that Real Madrid are preparing a bid of more than £80,000,000 will blow the likes of Arsenal out of the water. Don’t hold your breath on this one.
Arsenal’s negotiation position is strongest in the situation of the full-back, because he only signed a new contract until 2023 as recently as November. While much has been made of Bellerin’s family moving back to Barcelona, sources close to the player say that is nothing to do with any transfer, as they had planned to go back this year anyway.
The Catalan club will turn to 23-year-old Semedo to solve their right-back issue if a move for Bellerin becomes too problematic.
Bellerin addressed his future while on international duty with Spain, and effectively left it open-ended while still stating his contentment at Arsenal.
"It's great to know about the interest of Barca, the club where I grew up. I'm an Arsenal player and we'll see what happens.
"I know a lot of things are being talked about but as a player, the club haven't told me anything. A lot can happen this summer. "
Bellerin was also asked whether Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League or Wenger’s decision to stay for another two years has any way affected his situation, but said neither was influential.
"The truth is that every player of a top level wants to play in the Champions League, especially when I've been playing in it for two years. As a team, we didn't qualify. It's something we want to correct, but as a player, I repeat: it's an important competition.
"The fact that he [Wenger] is renewing doesn't change much. I'd have been happy with any other coach because I have a contract.
"My family had to return to Barcelona. I have a tougher time now because I'm a family person. It'll be a new challenge."Reuse content