Raya truth, Osimhen latest & more

Raya truth, Osimhen latest & more


This article was originally published on the Daily Briefing, a subscription service. If you would like to receive Charles Watts’ exclusive Arsenal transfer news via email ahead of publication on caughtoffside.com, please sign-up for the service here: thedailybriefing.io

David Raya the hero for Arsenal – and Mikel Arteta actually wanted to sign him earlier

It’s tough to play down the significance of Arsenal’s dramatic Champions League win on Tuesday night.

Porto are obviously no mugs when it comes to European competition. They’ve been there and done it so many times, but even so, it would have been a huge missed opportunity for Arsenal had they not got past the Portuguese side.

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao accused Mikel Arteta of insulting his family after the game. That’s an accusation I’ve been told is completely untrue.

Conceicao is well known to go down a route like this after a defeat. He has previous with other managers that have got one over him and Arsenal see his comments as nothing more than a deflection tactic to take attention away from his side’s defeat.

Porto played tricks on Arsenal throughout the two legs in a bid to disrupt things, from putting in team sheets late to failing to provide UEFA with a planned formation ahead of the games. They did all they could to get under Arsenal’s skin and throw them off track.

So there is a lot of satisfaction at Arsenal that their young and inexperienced group stayed calm and got the job done amid plenty of provocation. And Arteta will be delighted that David Raya was the hero on Tuesday night.

Raya’s arrival created a lot of headlines last summer, but he is now showing why Arteta took the opportunity to bring him in from Brentford.

Raya was the keeper Arteta always wanted. He wanted him to replace Bernd Leno, but a deal couldn’t be done at the time with Brentford so Aaron Ramsdale arrived instead.

Ramsdale did a great job and Arsenal were happy with him, but when Matt Turner pushed to leave Arsenal last summer late on in the window and Nottingham Forest offered a deal that would see Arsenal make a profit on the American keeper, the Gunners had to act quickly.

This time Raya was available and a loan deal, one that will be turned permanent this summer, was done. It was unexpected, but the opportunity arose and Arteta went for it.

It was a big call, but one he felt would improve the team. Looking at it now a few months down the line, you can’t argue that he hasn’t been proven correct.

Arsenal want to sign a striker as Eddie Nketiah is likely to leave

It’s no great secret that Arsenal want to sign a striker this summer. When the window opens it will be the priority, along with a midfielder and potentially another wide attacker.

Ivan Toney continues to be linked and that speculation is only going to increase as we head towards the market opening. Arsenal have discussed Toney, he is a player they admire, but it’s not one I’m convinced will happen.

There was lots of talk about something potentially happening in January but all the information I was getting was that much of the noise was coming from the player’s side, rather than the Arsenal side. There was never any possibility of Toney signing in January and I’d be surprised should it happen in the summer.

Obviously you can never rule it out and, as I’ve said, Arsenal have admired the Brentford striker’s qualities for some time, but I don’t think he will be at the top of their list of targets for a new frontman.

It will be interesting to see whether they move for Victor Osimhen. He, like Toney, is a player they like and I know that his representatives have visited Arsenal’s training ground for talks with Edu.

Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney have been linked with Arsenal

Those talks took place in the summer when Arsenal eventually signed Gabriel Jesus. Jesus was always the priority that year, but Osimhen was definitely a player they viewed as a serious alternative.

That interest will remain, but the Nigerian could prove to be too costly an option in a summer given Arsenal want to spread their budget around as they look to take the squad to the next level.

Kai Havertz has shown in recent weeks that he can offer a real threat when playing as the central striker and I’ve always felt that it is his best position. He can have a big part to play over the next few seasons, but if Arsenal want to go on and compete at the top of European football, they need more than what they have right now.

A new striker is imperative this summer, especially as it is likely that Eddie Nketiah will leave.

Douglas Luiz looks ideal for Arsenal as Martin Zubimendi deal doesn’t look easy

I do expect Arsenal to sign a midfielder this summer, but a lot will depend on what happens with the midfielders they currently have.

Jorginho has been superb since his move from Chelsea and my information is that the club are keen to talk to him about extending his stay until beyond 2025. They still feel he has a lot to give at the top level and have been hugely impressed by him, not just on the pitch but off it as well. He is a hugely influential presence in the changing room and on the training ground.

So ideally they would like Jorginho to stay, and then they have to sort out Thomas Partey’s future. Partey still has a year left on his deal and, just like last summer, Arsenal would not stand in his way of leaving should a decent offer arrive for the Ghana international.

Should that happen, then they would have to replace him and Martin Zubimendi is a player they believe can play the Partey role. Mikel Arteta knows Zubimendi well and is a big admirer of the Spain international, but there is uncertainty around whether he actually wants to leave Real Sociedad. There is also expected to be strong rival interest in the 25-year-old, so it might not be an easy deal to get done.

Douglas Luiz is a player Arsenal have tracked for a couple of years now, but the price Aston Villa would demand for the Brazilian would make it a difficult one for Arsenal.

Everton’s Amadou Onana could be one to watch out for. There were a lot of links with him in January. Again, I was told at the time that there was nothing concrete in that speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is someone Arsenal look at when the season ends.

Personally, I think Luiz would be a great option. I think he would fit in excellently at Arsenal and could form a fine partnership with Declan Rice.

Is Oleksandr Zinchenko’s future really in doubt, and what next for Kieran Tierney?

I’ve seen the suggestions about Arsenal being open to Oleksandr Zinchenko leaving in the summer, but I would be very surprised if that was the case.

Mikel Arteta loves Zinchenko and what he brings to the side. Yes, he is not always the best defensively at times, but what he gives going forward outweighs those deficiencies in Arteta’s mind.

Obviously, every player has a price and if someone comes in and offers huge money, then I’m sure Arsenal would consider it, but it would have to be a massive bid for them to part with a player that brings so much quality and versatility when he is fit.

Jakub Kiwior has filled in well in recent weeks, but he is not a long-term option at left-back and both Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu are more comfortable on the right, despite being able to play on the left.

So, overall, I can’t see Zinchenko leaving at this stage. It would be a surprise.

There’s also Kieran Tierney’s future to think about. I struggle to see Sociedad being able to pay Arsenal what they want for Tierney, and given the injury issues he has suffered during his loan spell, it remains to be seen whether they would be willing to turn the move permanent anyway.

I know Sociedad really like Tierney and he has made an impact with the way he has adapted to life in Spain. But the feeling speaking to those close to the club is that it is unlikely at this stage that they will look to keep him on a permanent basis.

More Stories / Latest News

Should that be the case then Arsenal will look to cash in on him elsewhere, but that might be difficult. They wanted to sell Tierney last summer, but were unable to, so the loan move to Sociedad was arranged.

The hope was that he would perform well in Spain, prove his fitness over the season and generate a big market for him this coming summer.

But that hasn’t really happened, which might make things difficult for Edu as he looks to find a buyer for the left-back.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *