Arsenal are wasting no time in capitalising on their progression from the last Premier League campaign, where they tied the club record for most wins in a single season at 26. The team secured an impressive second-place finish in the top flight, just behind Manchester City, with a remarkable 85 points – marking their highest point total since the historic invincible season in the 03/04 campaign.
The Gunners have also recently finalised the £65 million signing of German national Kai Havertz from Chelsea and show no signs of slowing down in the transfer market.
Arsenal are currently linked with several players, including Declan Rice, who could be a new British transfer record if he signs. Here’s all the latest on the potential comings and goings at the Emirates Stadium this summer.
With Manchester City making a late push in the race for Rice, Arsenal fans had grown increasingly nervous after months of speculation had strongly linked the West Ham player to the Gunners. However, Manchester City have now ended their pursuit of the talented defensive midfielder, reopening a clear but costly path for Arsenal to secure West Ham’s signature. The Gunners’ bid for Rice is rumored to have reached a staggering £105 million, potentially making him the most expensive British transfer of all time. According to Sky Sports, a deal between the two clubs has been agreed with the payment structure the only detail holding up the deal from being finalised.
Beyond Declan Rice, the 22-year-old Jurrien Timber seems to be the top target on Arsenal’s wishlist. The Dutch national, who featured in all 34 matches of the Eredivisie for Ajax in the past season, would bring immense versatility and much-needed depth to Arsenal’s back line. During the previous season, Arsenal’s form suffered greatly following the injury of their star French centre-back, William Saliba. Signing a player like Timber who can also play right-back would hopefully prevent a similar crisis from occurring. Negotiations between Ajax and Arsenal are progressing, though, with De Telegraaf reporting that a £40m deal has been agreed between the two clubs. Personal terms do not appear to be an issue, as the young Dutchman is eager to make the move to North London.
While there has been much discussion about potential new arrivals at Arsenal, the club will also witness the departure of a few key players from the Emirates. Thomas Partey, the 30-year-old Ghanaian captain, could be leaving Arsenal to join Serie A side Juventus. Initially, there was speculation of Partey moving to Saudi Arabia, but the defensive midfielder reportedly turned down the opportunity in order to continue playing European football, albeit outside the Champions League. Juventus, who had shown interest in signing Partey two years ago, believes that a fee in the range of £15-17m would be more than enough to finalise the deal. According to Sky Sports Italia, personal terms are not an obstacle between Partey and the Italian club, with only the transfer fee left to be settled. Arsenal are eager to complete the deal to avoid losing Partey on a free transfer next summer, claim the reports.
With the impending arrival of Rice and Havertz already signed from Chelsea, Granit Xhaka is set to join Partey as another Arsenal midfielder leaving. Despite earlier speculation about his departure during the January transfer window, Xhaka was persuaded to stay and complete the season by Arteta. However, the Swiss international man now aims to make a move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, with The Telegraph reporting that the two clubs have agreed on a fee in the region of £13m. The deal appears to be all but finalised, with Arsenal temporarily putting it on hold to ensure they can secure their midfield with the new signing of Declan Rice.
The prospects of the highly talented 19-year-old midfielder from Southampton joining Arsenal have significantly diminished. Lavia impressed in his 29 appearances for the Saints, attracting attention from several clubs including the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. Despite especially strong links to Lavia as reported by Fabrizio Romano, with Arsenal recently acquiring Havertz for £65m and the potential arrival of Rice for a substantial nine-figure fee, the club’s budget appears to be constrained. Lavia’s reported price tag of £40m or more has allowed other clubs, including Liverpool, to pursue the deal instead, leaving Arsenal looking on from the sidelines.
Arsenal may already be building for the future with the potential incomings of Timber and Rice but they have also made moves in recent days to secure the long-term future of one of their brightest academy prospects. Last season, Ethan Nwaneri broke the record for the youngest player ever to appear in a top-flight English match when he came on as a substitute aged 15 years and 181 days. Now, according to Fabrizio Romano, a scholarship deal has been agreed between Arsenal and the midfielder with a professional deal to be signed when he turns 17. That contract will reportedly last two and a half years and will make Nwaneri the highest-paid academy player in Arsenal history.