After being criticized for failing to sign an outfield player last summer, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger seems intent on getting his transfer business done early this time around. Already, the North London outfit has launched a bid to bring Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy to the Emirates next season.
Vardy scored 24 goals this season, firing Leicester to its first-ever Premier League title and has a £20M release clause in his contract that Arsenal have reportedly triggered. Some stories go as far as suggesting that the 29-year-old has already undergone his medical at Arsenal’s London Colney training center. Arsenal, whose sole signing of goalkeeper Petr Cech last summer made it the only top club in any of Europe’s big leagues not to sign an outfield player, finished second, 10 points behind Leicester.
With Jurgen Klopp installed at Liverpool and the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho taking over at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively, Wenger seems to have at last awoken to the demands of doing business in the modern world of Premier League transfers; where an influx of TV money has given clubs up and down the league the ability to lure top players and top managerial talent.
The fact that the title race came down to a battle between Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur illustrates the growing power of clubs once considered also-rans, or even in Leicester’s case, relegation fodder. As the likes of Man United, City, and Chelsea prepare to spend even more money, Arsenal at last appears ready to join them.
In addition to Vardy, the Gunners are now being linked to his teammate, Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez, 25, was voted PFA Player of the Year and would be a good signing for just about any club. However, it’s understood that the Algeria international is considered a secondary option should Arsenal fail to complete a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mkhitaryan, 27, has 12 months left on his contract with the Bundesliga side and would reportedly cost the Gunners something in the region of £35M.
Zlatan’s Big Announcement
Zlatan Ibrahimovic meanwhile, seems to be teetering ever closer to signing with Manchester United. The Swedish striker, who left Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent last month, says he’ll be making a “big announcement” on Tuesday.
It’s known that the former Barcelona and Ajax man has plans to unveil a new clothing line on Tuesday. However Sky Sports has reported that Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is close to finalizing terms with Ibrahimovic’s representatives. Incoming Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho worked with Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan and has prioritized making the 34-year-old his first signing at Old Trafford. There is some speculation that Ibrahimovic may use the platform of his clothing launch to announce his signing with the Premier League giants.
PSG in for Premier League Duo
Meanwhile, as big clubs continue to circle like vultures over members of Leicester’s title-winning team, PSG are said to be in for N’Golo Kante’. The French champions are apparently prepared to pay £20M for the 25-year-old midfielder.
Les Parisiens are also thought to have their eye on Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool no. 10, currently on duty with Brazil at the Copa America, had eight goals and seven assists for the Reds last season. PSG are thought to be ready to offer in the neighborhood of £25M for the 23-year-old attacking midfielder.