Arsenal are preparing to welcome Brentford to the Emirates on Saturday in the Premier League. The north London side are sixth in the league, but remain in the hunt for a top-four finish. They trail fourth-placed Manchester United by four points, but have three games in hand.
On that note, here's a look at the key Arsenal transfer stories as on 18th February 2022:
Arsenal locked in battle for Lautaro Martinez
Arsenal are locked in battle with Manchester City for Lautaro Martinez, according to The Hard Tackle via Calciomercato. The Argentinean has been a consistent performer for Inter Milan recently. So the Gunners want to take him to the Emirates.
Martinez dovetailed brilliantly with Romelu Lukaku last season to help the Nerazzurri win the Serie A title. Since the Belgian's departure last summer, the 24-year-old has struck a similar partnership with new signing Eden Dzeko. The Argentinean has 11 goals from 22 games in the league this season as he keeps getting better.
The Gunners are desperate for a new number nine at the end of the season. Manager Mikel Arteta tried in vain to bring in a striker in January, but is determined to solve the issue in the summer. The Spaniard saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang depart for Barcelona in the winter. Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are also in the final few months of their respective contracts.
Both players will likely leave in the summer, making a new striker the need of the hour. The Premier League giants have a long-standing interest in Martinez, and want to complete a deal for him this year. However, Manchester City could pour cold water on their plans.
City manager Pep Guardiola wants a replacement for Sergio Aguero, and has his eyes on the 24-year-old. Inter Milan tied down Martinez to a new deal last summer, allowing them to hold the upper hand in negotiations. If Arsenal want to secure the Argentinean, they might have to pay a fortune.
Gunners face competition for Sergi Roberto
Arsenal face competition from Manchester City for the signature of Sergi Roberto, according to The Hard Tackle via Fichajes. The Spaniard's current contract with Barcelona expires at the end of the season. The Blaugrana are not planning to offer him an extension.
The Gunners are looking for an able backup to Takehiro Tomiyasu, and have their eyes on Roberto. The 30-year-old could also help the north London side deal with the impending departure of Granit Xhaka. However, Manchester City are also in the race to sign the Spaniard, who could step into the shoes of Fernandinho.
Mikel Arteta would love to have Youri Tielemans, says pundit
Arsenal would love to have Youri Tielemans in their squad, according to former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan. The Belgian's contract with Leicester City expires next summer, and he has not signed a new deal yet.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said that Tielemans is good enough to play for any of the Premier League's top clubs.
"He’s one of these players who has everything that clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool would love. He’s very neat and tidy on the ball, fantastic creator, brilliant passing range; he works hard, set pieces – he ticks a lot of boxes for the clubs in that top four," said Whelan.
“I’m sure all of them would like to have a player of his quality and ability in their ranks. It does seem like the Leicester and Tielemans love affair is set to come to an end, and Brendan has probably realised that," added Whelan.