Arsenal have devised a €120m transfer plan but there is ‘fear’ over one part of it – which a hijacking Liverpool side could have a clever way of bypassing.
Arsenal appear to have finally realised that Bukayo Saka has played an awful lot of football for a 22-year-old and might at some point need a rest, lest he crumble into dust the next time someone clatters into him and he gets booked for it.
The Gunners have options to consider and are ‘long-term admirers’ of Pedro Neto, who is in the form of his career at Wolves.
They have also ‘looked at’ Ivan Toney but it probably wouldn’t be wise to spend an extortionate amount on him to stick him out wide. Man Utd have ruled themselves out of that chase as well; Chelsea might be left to negotiate against themselves. And probably still lose.
Arsenal are ‘making checks’ on Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao too. But John Cross of the Daily Mirror points out that the 21-year-old ‘would not be cheap’ and ‘will also show his loyalty’ to the Spanish club. And that is lovely to know, considering he signed a three-year contract renewal in December.
Athletic are ‘insistent that they will not sell’ and are nevertheless courting interest from Aston Villa, Liverpool and Real Madrid in one of their prized assets, who is not given a monetary value by the Mirror but his release clause is public knowledge because La Liga.
READ MORE: The most tempting transfer release clauses in football in 2024
Mikel Arteta watches his side during a Premier League match.
ON THE MEND
Another player with a release clause Arsenal deem to be worth at least exploring is Martin Zubimendi, someone Arteta ‘also rates’.
There is a ‘fear’ that the Real Sociedad midfielder might not leave his boyhood club, for whom he has played since the age of 12 after rising through the ranks.
And Football Transfers present another potential obstacle: Liverpool.
The Reds are ‘planning to go all out and fight the Gunners’ for Zubimendi, and are ‘prepared to fork out the €60m (£51m) release clause’ if necessary.
Signing Zubimendi might even form part of the pitch to tempt Alonso into replacing Jurgen Klopp as manager, with the midfielder having spoken so fondly and developed wonderfully under his compatriot in the past.
Whoever wins this particular race, the Celebration Police are on hand to monitor any and all reactions.
How, pray tell, are Arsenal raising the money to fund the pursuit of two players with release clauses worth just over £50m each?
Back to that original Mirror article we go to discover that Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah will all be made available for sale in a grand squad ‘shake-up’.
It is an imperfect (data) science but Twenty First Group, specialists in sports intelligence, recently estimated Arsenal’s squad worth to be at around the £1.13bn mark. Partey was valued at £25.5m, Smith Rowe at £17.6m and Nketiah at £38.1m.
That Smith Rowe price particularly stands out as a little erroneous but the Gunners are basically working at a ballpark of just over £80m raised through player sales. The PSR gods would be satisfied.