Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson look likely to be leaving Arsenal sooner rather than later. But it is all about the incoming talent as far as Gunners fans are concerned with the big kick-off inching ever nearer.
Head coach Unai Emery is still hopeful of being able to bring in two new stars ahead of the upcoming Premier League encounter with Newcastle United on Sunday (August 11). And as French defender Koscielny heads out to Ligue 1 side Bordeaux for a fee of around £5million and full-back Jenkinson looks set to join Sky Bet Championship side Nottingham Forest for £2million, the focus falls on the club’s top transfer targets.
The area that most definitely needs bolstering is the Gunners’ rear guard with both attacking midfielder Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid for a season) and club record signing Nicolas Pepe satisfying Arsenal needs in terms of going forward. The £72million fee for Ivory Coast winger Pepe, from Ligue 1 Lille, blew out of the water summer reports that the powerbrokers at the club had handed Spanish coach Emery just £45million with which to recruit players ahead of the new campaign.
The saga of Celtic ace Kieran Tierney rumbles on and a deal could well be done in accordance with the deadline with a slight injury to the defender, aged 22, said to be but a spoke in the wheels of the potential switch from Parkhead to the Emirates Stadium. Red Bull Leipzig central defender Dayot Upamecano remains an exciting player most definitely on the radar of Emery. The French stopper is rated very highly and, aged 20, the general consensus is that he can only get better. A fee of around £55million should secure his services but Arsenal aren’t the only club in the market for his undoubted talent and a tug-of-war will no doubt ensue to lure the powerful back line operative.
Meanwhile, with the trip to face the Magpies in mind, Emery says he is prepared to be patient with Pepe, the lightning quick flyer who rattled home 35 goals in 74 Ligue 1 appearances. He sat out Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat by Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Sunday in the club’s final pre-season friendly before the Premier League starts.
And Emery said:
“Next we are going to train together. Each day for Pepe and for us is information we can save. We hope he can be available for this match against Newcastle next Sunday. With him, I want to be patient. He is in the same situation as the other players who have been coming in the last days. For example, Lucas Torreira, after one week of training against Barca has his first ten minutes. With Pepe it’s the same. It’s better to be training and be working with us.”