Arsenal transfer round-up: Inter Milan reject Ivan Perisic bid, plus latest on Denis Suarez and Malcom

27 Jan

Arsenal are yet to do any business in the January transfer window, but they could yet spring into life.

While manager Unai Emery confirmed the club will only sign players on loan, there are some big names linked with a temporary switch to the Emirates.

Ivan Perisic starred at the World Cup for Croatia

Reports in Italy claim Inter Milan have rejected a bid for Croatia star Ivan Perisic, while Barcelona outcasts Denis Suarez and Malcom are also reportedly on Arsenal’s radar.

Here, talkSPORT.com rounds up all the of biggest rumours surrounding the Gunners as the January window nears its close…

 


Ivan Perisic bid rejected by Inter

Arsenal are reportedly in talks with Inter Milan to take Perisic on loan until the end of the season, with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer for £34.5million.

However, the Italian club have rejected the Gunners’ initial offer, according to Sky in Italy.

And reports claim Perisic has since handed in a transfer request.

The 29-year-old winger scored in the 2018 World Cup final and was widely regarded as one of the tournament’s star performers.

Reports suggest the Croat would earn £250,000-a-week at the Emirates, making him the second highest earner in the squad behind Mesut Ozil, who is on £300,000-a-week.

Ivan Perisic is wanted by Arsenal

Arsenal ask for Barcelona outcast Malcom on loan during Denis Suarez negotiations

Arsenal have launched a loan bid for Barcelona’s Malcom, according to The Sun.

The Gunners are reportedly in talks for another Nou Camp misfit, Denis Suarez, and have asked Barca to let them have Malcom until the end of the season as well.

The Brazilian, 21, has struggled for game time under head coach Ernesto Valverde, however it is understood club’s hierarchy still rates him highly.

Malcom is struggling for game time at Barcelona

Arsenal eye PSG youngster Christopher Nkunku on loan

If the Gunners fail to sign Suarez, it is understood their attention could turn to another versatile midfielder – PSG’s Christopher Nkunku.

The 21-year-old Frenchman played regularly under Emery at the Ligue 1 side last season but has seen his opportunities limited since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel.

Nkunku is seen as a potential successor to the departing Aaron Ramsey.

Arsenal transfer news: How Gunners could line-up with Ivan Perisic, Christopher Nkunku and Denis Suarez

26 Jan

Arsenal’s season is wobbling and their recent poor form continued on Friday night as they exited the FA Cup by losing to Manchester United.

It’s now five losses in 10 games across all competitions with a patched up defence attempting to get the Gunners through their tough time.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery

But now it seems manager Unai Emery is set to enter the transfer market to try and get things right at the Emirates.

Rather than spend defensively, though, the Spaniard looks likely to sign a winger and a versatile midfielder, according to the latest reports.

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic has handed in a transfer request and could now join the Gunners as they look to arrange a loan-to-buy deal, which could eventually be worth £35million.

Meanwhile, a loan move for Denis Suarez or Christopher Nkunku might also happen to add depth in key areas for the top six side, who could miss out on Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season.

But what would an Arsenal team look like with Perisic and one of Suarez or Nkunku? Find out below.

Goalkeeper

Unless current no.1 Bernd Leno experiences a severe dip in form it’s unlikely anyone other than the German will be occupying the space between the sticks for the long-term.

Petr Cech will remain his deputy, playing in cup matches, while a successor to the veteran, when he retires at the end of the season is unlikely to come until the summer.

Defence

Hector Bellerin’s huge injury blow came at the worst time for Emery as he attempts to sort out his leaky backline.

Laurent Koscielny may be back and Sokratis Papastathopoulos may have been added in the summer but it’s an area which needs significant improvement when you compare it to the rest of the top six.

For the time being the right-back role will be going to either Ainsley Maitland-Niles or veteran Switzerland star Stephan Lichtsteiner, while, when fit, Koscielny and Sokratis, will be the first-choice backline until Rob Holding returns.
At left-back, Nacho Monreal will start but this also depends on his fitness.

Arsenal transfer targets Denis Suarez, Ivan Perisic, and Christopher Nkunku.

Midfield

It’s likely, given his previous managerial tendencies, Emery will want to get his 4-3-3 on the go, even if this does stifle the career of some of the club’s big name players.

We’ve already seen he isn’t afraid to chop and change for tactical reasons, with Mesut Ozil frequently being left out.

Granit Xhaka, for the time being, looks like being he short-passing midfielder anchor who safer keeps play ticking along, while summer signing Lucas Torreira will continue to the right of him.

It’s on the left side we’re will see either Christopher Nkunku or Denis Suarez fit in, more advanced than the other central midfielders, their role will be to shuttle the ball forward with their dribbling skills, while then using the vision they both possess to pick the correct pass in the final third.

Arsenal paid more than £57m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and he’s been a hit

Attack

Down the middle, it’s unlikely Alexandre Lacazette will get above Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the pecking order while we could also see Alex Iwobi out on the right wing.

This would allow potential new boy Perisic to take up his usual role on the left.

We could potentially see Lacazette through the middle and Aubameyang towards the right but this could harm the goal scoring of Aubameyang.

Meanwhile, another option might be to play Perisic and Aubameyang as two wider forwards with Iwobi just tucked behind them as a No.10.

Is this how Arsenal could line-up with their possible new signings?

Christopher Nkunku: The Arsenal target inspired by Marco Verratti and versatile enough to replace Neymar

25 Jan

Arsenal are reportedly keen on landing Paris Saint-Germain midfield starlet Christopher Nkunku as they look to add to their midfield options.

Sevilla ace Ever Banega and Barcelona star Denis Suarez had previously been linked during the transfer window but now it’s Nkunku, who came to the fore at PSG under current Gunners boss Unai Emery, who is their target.

Paris Saint-Germain ace Christopher Nkunku could be on the way to Arsenal.

L’Equipe reported on the possibility of the transfer on Thursday, stating the player knew of the Premier League side’s interest in a loan deal with an option to buy and was interested in the proposal given his lack of minutes in recent months.

And David Ornstein firmed up the speculation, in a tweet later in the day, which casts doubts on whether the move would ultimately be made permanent, but revealed his belief the club see him as Aaron Ramsey’s potential successor.

But who is Nkunku and what can he offer the Gunners if he does sign for the club, on loan or permanently? talkSPORT.com takes a look.

Christopher Nkunku factfile

Name: Christopher Alan Nkunku

Born: November 14, 1997

Club: Lagny-sur-Marne

League appearances/goals: 46/6

Honours: Ligue 1 – 2015/16 and 2017/18

Coupe de France – 2015/16 and 2016/17

Coupe de la Ligue – 2016/17 and 2017/18

Trophee des Champions 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018

International: France Under-21s – Six caps and one goal

Parisienne Walkways

Born in the same suburb of Paris as Paul Pogba, but unlike the Manchester United star, Nkunku was selected to go to the famous French training centre, Clairefontaine, which has helped produced some of the finest footballers in recent times, like Kylian Mbappe, Thierry Henry, and Blaise Matuidi.

There he honed his skills while training with Paris Saint-Germain at weekend, this after his spells as a youth with AS Marolles and RCP Fontainebleau.

Changes

He was once famed for his slight frame but matured and grew in stature both mentally and physically as he developed his style, transforming form winger to central midfielder.

Formerly a dribbling wide man, he moved inside and showed ability not only as a progressive central star but also as a capable holder, while his vision impressed as he made almost 20 assists in his first campaign with the club’s Under-19s.

Instagram Photo

Blanc slate and playing alongside his idol

It was in 2015/16 when Nkunku first came to the attention of many when he was involved with the senior side’s first pre-season training camp.

He impressed manager Laurent Blanc with his abilities and found himself given a chance to showcase his skills against Austria Vienna in a friendly, which the French side won 3-0 with fellow teen talent Jean-Kevin Augustin scoring twice and Serge Aurier netting.

His manager noted: “Immediately, I noticed the ease of his technique and I think I wasn’t alone.”

He went on to feature during their tour of America, as one of few non-professional youth players, where he played against both Chelsea and Manchester United, while also briefly playing alongside his idol Marco Verratti.

Of his time on the tour, he told Get Football News France: “By living on a daily basis alongside Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva or David Luiz, I saw the way that they work and how they prepare for each match. That is where you see that they really are professionals, so I am taking their example. They have a career behind them whereas we are just starting out.

Christopher Nkunku in action against Manchester United star Antonio Valencia in 2015.

“We are enchanted, happy and excited to be with them whilst they are simply doing their job. And we see that their job, it is really something else. Football is a job. It is a sport but it is above all, a job.

“I told myself that I was in a great club and that I was lucky to be playing, to have entered into this group and to be training with these players. Above all I wanted to make my mark. The players put me at ease very quickly by talking to me a lot.

“That made me feel confident and during each training session I tried to give the best of myself to show Laurent Blanc that I was capable of doing lots of things and that I could put myself in contention to have some playing time as well in Ligue 1.”

Development and first-team integration

He made his senior debut on December 8, 2015 as he replaced Lucas Moura in PSG’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, featuring for three minutes, and a professional contract followed, along with more time amongst the first-team squad.

Nkunku also excelled with the club’s Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League and put on a stunning show against Real Madrid, scoring twice and playing a crucial role in a 4-1 win.

He did though have some issues with his discipline which his agent José-Karl Pierre-Fafan puts down to the fact his small physique meant he had to fight a lot harder than most to keep possession until he sufficiently strengthened his body, a quality Pierre-Farfan believes he shares with Verratti.

Nkunku himself compared his stature and style to the Italian: “I am similar to him because I am pint-sized. I love to play football and it is when I have the ball at my feet that one can see my qualities, like Marco Verratti,” he said.

Nkunku celebrates his goal against Troyes with Dani Alves.

Breakthrough

In the middle of the 2016/17 campaign, new boss Unai Emery was forced to turn to Nkunku as injuries enveloped his squad and he was used both on the left wing and in central roles, with his versatility and earning praise from his coach.

He said: “We are very happy with him. He’s a player who listens. It’s very important. He listens and does everything he is asked. He listens to everyone. He has the qualities. He is told to play on the left, he plays on the left. He adapts to the way the team needs him.”

By 2017/18, Nkunku was a regular in the first-team, providing Ligue 1 rotation for the club’s Champions League aces but by the end of the year he was starting in a number of positions, including both wings and his usual central midfield role.

Nkunku celebrates with idol Marco Verratti.

In March 2018, he deputised for Neymar against Troyes and scored in a 2-0 victory, a collection of smart passes and dribbles were mixed in with some possession loss as his team-mates helped him through. But his confidence remained, as he showed with a saved overhead kick and a cool finish in the second half.

He wasn’t finished there and in the next match against Metz he impressed in a more central role, scoring twice, once with his right foot and once with his weaker left foot, while he was denied a perfect hat-trick in the 5-0 victory with a disallowed header at the back post.

“The double I scored was a real joy, especially since I’ve not had much playing time this season,” he said after the match. “I knew that sooner or later, this chance would come. I hope I can continue to take it.”

This season

With Emery departing in the summer and Thomas Tuchel taking over, though, Nkunku hasn’t been able to continue.

After plenty of action early in the campaign as the German got used to his new squad and filtered his World Cup stars in slowly, the 21-year-old has found himself back on the periphery and he been on the bench for the last three Ligue 1 games without making it onto the pitch.

As his progression stalls, it’s easy to understand why the talent would fancy playing under Emery, a coach who showed faith in him and appreciated his qualities and his versatility.