Reports: Arsenal & Juventus to fight it out for £35m rated La Liga midfielder
What's the story?
Arsenal's midfield is set for a mass exodus in the next few months as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are on the verge of leaving the clubs with their contracts running out in the summer. The absence of Santi Cazorla through injury has also been a significant setback to the Gunners over the past few seasons, and it appears that the Spanish midfielder is facing another extended period on the sidelines after complications in his recovery.
Arsene Wenger has stated that he intends to keep a hold of his current players, but the Arsenal manager is clearly expecting a couple of departures, and according to reports from the Express, Arsenal has agreed on an initial £35m fee with Sevilla for defensive midfielder Steven Nzonzi.
In case you didn't know..
Steven Nzonzi is hardly an unknown prospect to viewers of the Premier League and he spent 6 years in England before his time at Sevilla. The French midfielder joined Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £500,000 in 2009, quickly establishing himself as an athletic and hard-working runner.
He spent three years at Ewood Park before departing to Stoke City when Blackburn were relegated to the Championship. Nzonzi never seemed truly settled at Stoke, handing in transfer requests after his first and second seasons at the club, and he was eventually sold to Sevilla for a fee of £7 million in 2015.
Nzonzi has progressed significantly since joining Sevilla and has become one of the league's most impressive central midfielders. He won his only major trophy after joining Sevilla and was an integral part of their UEFA Europa League winning campaign.
The heart of the matter
Sevilla have not had an ideal start to their La Liga campaign and currently sit in fifth place, 11 points behind league leaders Barcelona. Nzonzi has also had a rather public falling out with Sevilla officials, with Sevilla president Jose Castro admitting that he will be allowed to leave if his transfer clause is met. However, Arsenal are not keeping all their eggs in a large Nzonzi shaped basket, and have also made plans to approach Nice's Jean Michael Seri.
Arsenal clearly have the financial ability to acquire the services of Nzonzi, who is a relative bargain for £40 million. The midfielder also has considerable experience in the Premier League and won't take too long to adapt. Arsenal will have to move quickly to ensure that Juventus don't get to him first, especially since he has been on Juventus' radar for a while now.