William Saliba transfer close, Tierney negotiations continue and Milan plot Torreira bid - Arsenal Transfer Roundup, 26th June 2019
An embarrassing freefall towards the business end of the 2018/19 Premier League season exposed the frailties prevalent throughout Arsenal's squad and exacerbated the need to spend heavily in the summer transfer window.
The loss in the Europa League final - which was Arsenal's only hope of getting Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium - ensured that the windfall from the competition will elude manager Unai Emery, who will try plugging the glaring holes in his squad with a substantially decreased budget.
Arsenal's backline has become an area of huge concern and has been culpable for the Gunners' failure to finish in the top four.
However, after observing Emery's movements in the transfer window, it seems as though he's finally ready to address the Achilles heel in the squad and build a solid foundation off of which the Gunners can mount a serious challenge for one of the top four spots in the Premier League this season, albeit on a shoestring budget of £45 million.
Saliba deal close to completion
According to reports in the French and British media, Arsenal are close to acquiring the services of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The 18-year-old centre-back is viewed as a long-term fix around whom the Gunners can build their backline for the foreseeable future.
The Gunners have reportedly matched Saint-Etienne's asking price of €30M and also agreed personal terms with the French teenager. However, Saliba might spend a season on loan at Saint-Etienne before moving to London in 2020, with the French outfit paying 100 percent of Saliba's wages during the loan spell.
Spurs were heavily linked with Saliba too but it looks like their north London rivals have pipped them to the France U20 internationals signature.
At 6'4", Saliba's towering presence will be an asset to Arsenal in defence and attack, whilst his calmness on the ball will help them initiate attacking moves from the back - a regular fixture of Emery's style of play. Moreover, his impressive turn of pace makes it difficult for attackers to beat him to the ball and will also help Arsenal attack in numbers and not worry about being exposed to an explosive counter-attack.
Tierney negotiations continue
Arsenal have reportedly had an opening bid worth £15 million rejected for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and are expected to go in with a second bid for the 22-year-old defender. Emery had earmarked Tierney as one of his primary transfer targets this summer and is keen on bringing the Scotsman to the Emirates Stadium.
Sead Kolasinac's ineptitude to defend the left flank and Nacho Monreal's gradual decline has accentuated the Gunners' need to find a fix for the left-back spot in the market. Quick, strong in the tackle, a reliable crosser someone who possesses the mentality of a leader, the Scottish full-back would be an extremely shrewd acquisition for the Gunners.
Tierney has already plied his trade in the Champions League, is versatile and acclimatized to playing both as a left-back and left wing-back - all of this whilst being developed in an environment where anything other than winning a title is considered a failure.
At just 22 years of age, Tierney's CV at Celtic boasts of 10 trophies and 3 Young Player Of The Year awards - the most awarded to a single player in Scottish top-flight history. The benefit of a solid foundation at a young age and the possibility of blossoming into a world beater with time makes Tierney's potential arrival at the Emirates an extremely intriguing prospect.
Milan plotting Lucas Torreira bid
Lucas Torreira's camp have green-lighted a potential move to AC Milan and the Rossoneri are now preparing a suitable package to present to Arsenal. Reputed Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reported on Tuesday night that Torreira has expressed an interest in reuniting with former coach Marco Giampaolo and that a move to San Siro might be on the cards.
Torreira joined Arsenal from Sampdoria last season and the Emirates Stadium faithful were appeased by the Uruguayan midfielder's dogged approach and willingness to put himself on the line. Naturally, he quickly became a crowd favorite.
The former Sampdoria man made a really good start to his Arsenal career but his form tapered off towards the end of the season, much like the entirety of Arsenal's squad. Earlier this month, Torreira revealed how he preferred life in Italy and the struggles he's had to face in order to adapt to the English culture.
"I don't know if there are many things that I enjoy. I think it was better in Italy. England is a totally different world, a very large country. The language [barrier] has stopped me, to be able to relate with my teammates and with the people. It is very difficult when you can't have dialogue," he said.
Milan are set to use Torreira's displeasure towards life in England as an effective negotiating tool in their attempts to land the diminutive midfielder.
For Arsenal, losing a player like Torreira would be catastrophic, as he's the engine that gives an impetus to their activities in the centre of the pitch and encapsulates all the qualities which the Gunners have missed in midfield over the years.
Milan's first offer for the Uruguayan will be a €5 million fee for a two-year loan deal with an obligation to buy for €38 million once that period comes to a close. It is difficult to see Arsenal accepting such an offer and Milan, in all probability, will have to come up with something better if they're serious about landing Torreira.