The merry-go-round has well and truly begun when it comes to transfer speculation. Fans up and down the country are scouring the media for the merest hint of news linking their club with a galaxy of stars from the world of football. But the majority of what’s being written is no more than guesswork — yet it satisfies the craving of supporters.
And, of course, it is no different when it comes to Arsenal. The Gunners are a good example of a wildly speculative story. This week we were unreliably (as it turns out) informed that Granit Xhaka was leaving Unai Emery’s outfit to switch to Italy in a move to Serie A’s Inter Milan. The source for this far-fetched yarn? Well, it came from a Twitter account whose owner claimed to be the Swiss midfielder’s cousin. Except he wasn’t. And after the whirl of coverage he came out on the social media platform to meekly apologise for the fuss he had caused and that, in fact, the whole story was completely and utterly made up. At least it gives us an example of how tenuous some tales can be.
That said, they can’t be ignored when the public demand any cough or spit. The latest news doing the rounds is that Emery is now battling with Atletico Madrid as he looks to recruit AC Milan star Suso. The Spaniards seemingly want the Spain native, who is aged 25, as a potential replacement for Antoine Griezmann, said to be heading for the Madrid exit.
Meanwhile, we are also told that the Gunners have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Samuel Umtiti, after the French ace declared he doesn’t want to leave Barcelona. A new central defender is imperative for Emery given that both Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi look past their sell-by date and will probably leave this summer. Umtiti, speaking after France’s shock 2-0 defeat against Turkey, says he is content at the Nou Camp, adding:
“I have a contract, I feel happy in Barcelona. I had a complicated season but that’s not a reason to have desires elsewhere.”
Another name in the frame when it comes to potential Arsenal targets is Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at AC Milan. He is said to be available for a permanent switch for around £30million.
Elsewhere, some media outlets are reporting that Arsenal want to sign Saint Etienne centre-back William Saliba, who is aged just 18. He has tuned in some dazzling displays at the heart of the side that finished fourth in Ligue 1 and has alerted Emery’s scouts. But if he was to pen a deal with the north London giants it is said he would stay at Saint Etienne for another season on loan so he can continue his development.