Sevilla will do everything in their power to hold on to midfielder Ever Banega amid interest from Arsenal, insisting that he is “not for sale” and doubling down on their ability to talk the player into staying.
The Argentina midfielder is considering his options this summer after some behind-the-scenes changes at the club and has an achievable release clause understood to be in the region of €20m (£17.6m) this summer.
Unai Emery is very familiar with the player from his own time in Seville and is well aware of the qualities and experience that the 29-year-old playmaker could bring in a time of rebuilding at the Emirates.
A high-ranking Sevilla official told The Independent on Monday that Banega is not for sale under any circumstances, and they are planning talks with the player on his return from the World Cup to reassure him that the project at the Sanchez Pizjuan is the best place for his talents. They also believe that Arsenal have higher priority targets, whereas Banega remains at the heart of their plans.
Sevilla missed out on Champions League football last season, meaning a slight financial hit. But there are a raft of players that they would rather part with before Banega, who despite his travels and travails has played the best football of his career in Seville and that is a theme the club will play on in their efforts to convince him to stay.
There is a back-up plan in place should the Argentinean’s release clause be activated, with a deal lined up for Swansea midfielder Roque Mesa, who spent the end of the campaign on loan with Sevilla.
But the Spanish club have been playing hard ball over a fee and have threatened to back out if a deal isn’t agreed this week.
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