Arsenal transfer news: Record Declan Rice bid, Jurrien Timber and Granit Xhaka latest

Arsenal are still in the market to further complete their squad

Charlie Schoninger
Monday 03 July 2023 14:49 BST
Arsenal are looking to sign West Ham captain Declan Rice
Arsenal are looking to sign West Ham captain Declan Rice (PA Wire)

Arsenal successfully completed the transfer of Kai Havertz last week and are now poised to hopefully secure the signings of two more big stars in Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber.

Rice’s transfer is expected to surpass Arsenal’s previous record fee held by Nicolas Pepe and break the nine-figure mark.

With these big new additions the club aims to build upon an extremely promising 2022-2023 season, during which they led the Premier League for 248 days.

With no major departures from the Emirates and three significant signings expected to join before the start of the new campaign, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are poised to continue their improved run from last year.

Here’s all the latest on the potential comings and goings at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

Francis Balogun

Francis Balogun, a newly capped United States international, could be seeking a move after an impressive loan spell at French club Stade Reims. With the new signing of Kai Havertz, and Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah most likely locked as the clubs two top centre-forwards, Balogun may want out of the Emirates.

Around the time of Havertz’s onboarding at Arsenal, Balogun posted a tweet containing the phrase "it is time" along with an hour clock emoji, which he later deleted. This led to speculation among fans that Balogun was hinting at his desire to leave the club following the signing.

According to reports, Arsenal has set a price tag of £35m for Balogun, a figure that many potential suitors consider too high, despite his successful loan spell at Reims. The report suggests that Inter and AC Milan are among the clubs showing significant interest in the attacker.

Balogun has made it clear that he is unwilling to go on another loan spell, raising the question of whether Arsenal are prepared to allow the talented 21-year-old attacker to leave permanently.

Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe, seems highly likely to depart from the Emirates this summer. Due to his high wages and underwhelming performances, the Ivorian winger has failed to live up to expectations, prompting Arsenal to seek a way to move on from what has been regarded as a very poor transfer decision.

Pepe recently made an appearance on the French YouTube channel Colinterview, where he criticized the club’s revered manager, Mikel Arteta. Pepe expressed in the interview the following, "How could I be a substitute when he said he counted on me? Everything is spinning in your head. I was a substitute. It was at the time when they signed Willian. He is a number 10 or a winger. But he plays on the wing for like 11 or 12 matches in a row."

Although Pepe appears guaranteed to leave the Emirates, his next destination remains unclear at this point.

Declan Rice

With Manchester City making a late push in the race for Rice, Arsenal fans had grown increasingly nervous after months of speculation had strongly linked the West Ham player to the Gunners. However, Manchester City have now ended their pursuit of the talented defensive midfielder, reopening a clear but costly path for Arsenal to secure West Ham’s signature. The Gunners’ bid for Rice is rumored to have reached a staggering £105 million, potentially making him the most expensive British transfer of all time. According to Sky Sports, a deal between the two clubs has been agreed with the payment structure the only detail holding up the deal from being finalised.

Jurrien Timber

Beyond Declan Rice, the 22-year-old Jurrien Timber seems to be the top target on Arsenal’s wishlist. The Dutch national, who featured in all 34 matches of the Eredivisie for Ajax in the past season, would bring immense versatility and much-needed depth to Arsenal’s back line. During the previous season, Arsenal’s form suffered greatly following the injury of their star French centre-back, William Saliba. Signing a player like Timber who can also play right-back would hopefully prevent a similar crisis from occurring. Negotiations between Ajax and Arsenal are progressing, though, with De Telegraaf reporting that a £40m deal has been agreed between the two clubs. Personal terms do not appear to be an issue, as the young Dutchman is eager to make the move to North London.

Thomas Partey

While there has been much discussion about potential new arrivals at Arsenal, the club will also witness the departure of a few key players from the Emirates. Thomas Partey, the 30-year-old Ghanaian captain, could be leaving Arsenal to join Serie A side Juventus. Initially, there was speculation of Partey moving to Saudi Arabia, but the defensive midfielder reportedly turned down the opportunity in order to continue playing European football, albeit outside the Champions League. Juventus, who had shown interest in signing Partey two years ago, believes that a fee in the range of £15-17m would be more than enough to finalise the deal. According to Sky Sports Italia, personal terms are not an obstacle between Partey and the Italian club, with only the transfer fee left to be settled. Arsenal are eager to complete the deal to avoid losing Partey on a free transfer next summer, claim the reports.

Granit Xhaka

With the impending arrival of Rice and Havertz already signed from Chelsea, Granit Xhaka is set to join Partey as another Arsenal midfielder leaving. Despite earlier speculation about his departure during the January transfer window, Xhaka was persuaded to stay and complete the season by Arteta. However, the Swiss international man now aims to make a move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, with The Telegraph reporting that the two clubs have agreed on a fee in the region of £13m. The deal appears to be all but finalised, with Arsenal  temporarily putting it on hold to ensure they can secure their midfield with the new signing of Declan Rice.

Romeo Lavia

The prospects of the highly talented 19-year-old midfielder from Southampton joining Arsenal have significantly diminished. Lavia impressed in his 29 appearances for the Saints, attracting attention from several clubs including the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. Despite especially strong links to Lavia as reported by Fabrizio Romano, with Arsenal recently acquiring Havertz for £65m and the potential arrival of Rice for a substantial nine-figure fee, the club’s budget appears to be constrained. Lavia’s reported price tag of £40m or more has allowed other clubs, including Liverpool, to pursue the deal instead, leaving Arsenal looking on from the sidelines.

Ethan Nwaneri

Arsenal may already be building for the future with the potential incomings of Timber and Rice but they have also made moves in recent days to secure the long-term future of one of their brightest academy prospects. Last season, Ethan Nwaneri broke the record for the youngest player ever to appear in a top-flight English match when he came on as a substitute aged 15 years and 181 days. Now, according to Fabrizio Romano, a scholarship deal has been agreed between Arsenal and the midfielder with a professional deal to be signed when he turns 17. That contract will reportedly last two and a half years and will make Nwaneri the highest-paid academy player in Arsenal history.

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