Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger in defender pursuit, as Riyad Mahrez 'distracted' and Alvaro Morata slips away

The latest transfer news and speculation surrounding the Emirates Stadium

Jack de Menezes@JackdeMenezes
Monday 01 August 2016 12:07
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Arsene Wenger will move for two more players before the transfer window shuts
Arsene Wenger will move for two more players before the transfer window shuts

Arsenal are expected to increase their efforts to land two more transfer targets before the window closes at the end of the month as they return to the United Kingdom following the two-match tour of the United States.

Arsene Wenger’s squad will arrive back in London after a successful trip across the Atlantic, having beaten the MLS All-Star side and Chivas. It was on that tour that Wenger confirmed he is still in the market to sign a new defender and a striker after deciding he is short on experience and options in key positions.

The injury news that rocked Wenger when it was revealed that Per Mertesacker will miss the rest of the year has forced the Arsenal manager to pursue a new centre-back, although a number of targets have emerged on the radar.

Summer 2016 Transfer Window - Done deals and rumours

However, while Arsenal weigh up their options, they are yet to make an official bid for any defenders despite interest in Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi, as well as reports linking the club to West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans and Federico Fernandez of Swansea.

While defence remains a concern of Wenger’s, he still needs to strengthen Arsenal’s attack if they are to have a say on the Premier League title race this season. The 66-year-old appears to have accepted that Olivier Giroud alone is not capable of leading the side in a title challenge, and summers moves for Jamie Vardy, Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata have already failed.

One of those players has revealed why he turned down Arsenal in order to remain with Premier League champions Leicester City, with Vardy revealing that he did not hold talks with Wenger after his release fee was activated.

“I was away with England. No, I never spoke with them.”

Vardy added: “I’ve always said the brotherhood at Leicester is unbelievable.

“Personally I feel I have a lot of unfinished ­business here. It wasn’t that big a decision, it was quite easy, this is where I wanted to be.”

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However, one player who appears to be pondering a Leicester exit to move to Arsenal is Riyad Mahrez, with Claudio Ranieri confirming that the midfielder is distracted by the ongoing transfer talk.

“Maybe Riyad is distracted a bit by all of these rumours and speculation,” Ranieri said after Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Leicester 4-0 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday. “But that is also an experience for my players.

“It is important that he understands that he should stay with us. He has to improve his fitness and play for the team as well as last season.”

Mahrez has been linked with a move to the Emirates

Morata though has also slipped through Arsenal’s grasp, with Zinedine Zidane confirming that Real Madrid have elected to keep the striker at the Santiago Bernabeu rather than sell him on after signing the Spaniard back from Juventus earlier this summer.

“Yes, Morata is a Real Madrid player,” Zidane told reporters while on tour in the United States for the International Champions Cup.

Morata will not leave Real Madrid this summer, says Zidane 

“We’re delighted to have him back, back to his original home. He’s going to remain a Real Madrid player.”

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