Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Arsenal's Kylian Mbappe verdict, Declan Rice fee, Kieran Tierney replacement, Cancelo transfer

The summer is underway and with it comes the start of transfer season. The window may have only opened today, but work is well underway for what is expected to be a busy summer at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal are targeting several signings with a defender, a forward and two midfielders on the agenda at the very least as Mikel Arteta prepares his squad for the Champions League. There are also several sales that Edu needs to take care of to rebalance the squad.

With all that going on it felt like the perfect time for a Q and A with football.london ‘s chief Arsenal correspondent Kaya Kaynak. You can read back on some of the highlights below.

Q: What’s the status on Kieran Tierney? If the Scot does leave, who are Arsenal targeting in that area? In my opinion, Fulham’s Antonee Robinson fits the bill.

 

KK: Hey thanks for the question! Tierney certainly has interest from lots of teams and the most high profile of those is Newcastle. Arsenal are in a strong position though, and with three years left on his contract there is no obligation to sell. However, it does seem as though Mikel Arteta is evolving away from players of Tierney’s style. With that in mind it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move on this summer.

Replacement-wise, Arteta will want a left back who can invert in a similar manner to what Zinchenko does. That’s why Kiwior and Tomiyasu have been used at left back at times this season. Joao Cancelo, Timothy Castagne and Ivan Fresneda all fit that bill. For me I think Robinson is a bit too similar to Tierney to be considered a target, but he’s certainly a great player!

Q: Hi Kaya, you mentioned last week that Arteta would like to sign an attacker that can play across the forward line. Mbappe certainly ticks those boxes, but is a deal even realistic?

KK: Hey, Arsenal certainly are looking at a player who will be more of an all-rounder up top than an out-and-out No.9, and there aren’t too many better in world football than Kylian Mbappe.

Sadly though, I don’t think that’s realistic. I can’t see Arsenal disrupting the project by adding his astronomic wages to the bill, and it’s also worth pointing out that he would come with a big transfer fee too. Throw in the fact that Real Madrid is his destination of choice and it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen unfortunately. The time to get him was when he was young and still at Monaco. For now at least, that ship seems to have sailed.

Q: Hey Kaya. Do you see us playing fringe players like Pepe, Cedric etc during the pre-season or they won’t play for Arsenal again you feel?

KK: Hey! That’s a good question. I think Cedric and Pepe could get some games in pre-season depending on the injury status of certain players and the late returners from international duty. Arteta has shown that he’ll take players on the first team tour even if it looks like they have no future with the club. Last season he brought Lucas Torreira and Alex Runarsson with him to the States even when it was clear they were on their way out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the same again this year.

Q: If we sign Rice and Caicedo, will Partey be sold?

KK: It’s hard to say for definite, but I would argue that he’s more likely to go than Jorginho right now. He’ll have two years left on his contract, while Jorginho has just one, and Partey’s value would probably be higher. Having said that though, I think there’s a world where Arteta keeps Partey and takes advantage of his versatility. He was happy with how he did at right back at times last season, and has also used him in a more advanced role on occasion. If the Gunners can’t get a defender over the line then Partey could be a useful asset to have.

Q: Do you think £100m for Rice is too much? Could Arsenal instead be using that money to sign a few reinforcements in defence or midfield instead? Why splash that cash on Rice when Arsenal signed Jorginho in January?

KK: Hey! I think this is a fair question, but I think when people look at transfer values they maybe get a bit too focused on comparisons. I’ve seen people saying that Bellingham is going for the same price so why are Arsenal paying £100million? I think with that it’s a case of what the player is worth to the selling club. Rice is arguably West Ham’s greatest ever Premier League player and losing him will be a massive blow for them. Dortmund on the other hand have a policy of selling their players on and will recover like they have done before.

It’s probably also worth thinking about whether we think Rice would improve Arsenal. As far as I’m concerned he would make the midfield massively better and more capable of competing in the Champions League. When you consider that I think he’s certainly worth it, so the cost isn’t too big an issue!

As for the defence the money is there to do both. Arsenal don’t plan on stopping with just Rice this summer. He’ll be the first of a few signings they look to bring in to prepare Arteta for his first season managing in the Champions League.

Q: Hi Kaya, just wondering what the situation on Cancelo is right now… Have the talks progressed or have any agreements been made??

Hey! Good question! I’m not aware of any formal approaches just yet, but that is definitely a position Arsenal are looking at. Cancelo fits the mould of the type of defender Arsenal would like to add this summer, with Timothy Castagne and Ivan Fresneda also fitting in that group. It would be a great addition for Arsenal, but certainly a costly one. City would not let him go for cheap and he would become one of Arsenal’s highest earners if he did make the move.

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