‘Active’ Arsenal need to ‘do a fair bit of legwork’ on £75m deal; Tielemans transfer not ruled out

Joe Williams
Arsenal target Declan Rice walks on the pitch

Arsenal are likely to be “active” right now in their pursuit of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice with a view to signing him in the summer, according to a respected journalist.

The Gunners are looking to sign a new midfielder before the end of the window, while they are reportedly working on midfield transfer options for the summer window too.

Mikel Arteta admitted they would be on the lookout for a new midfielder before the transfer deadline after Mohamed Elneny was injured this week.

But CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs claims that Arsenal are unlikely to do any January any further January business if it compromised what they have planned in the summer.

When asked whether Arsenal will buy a midfielder in January or choose to wait to land Rice in the summer, Jacobs replied on Twitter: “Arsenal won’t do anything in the last few days of January that is counter-productive to summer targets. They do really like Rice and feel like at £70-75m that’s decent value.”

On how much of the groundwork to sign Rice could get done before the summer, Jacobs continued: “Quite a bit. Often the key to success is window planning. To land a top target, especially with competition, you have to do a fair bit of legwork. I expect Arsenal to be active on Rice. There’s a feeling the price may be £70-75m, which is decent value.”

Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has been a name linked with a move to Arsenal for months with the Belgium international out of contract at the end of June.

On whether Arsenal have lost interest in Tielemans, Jacobs added: “Not necessarily. He wasn’t quite right for them in summer, and he’s a free (as things stand) next summer.

“So I think Arsenal, if they do pursue him (and he’s still on their radar) would clearly prefer to get him for nothing. Leicester City really don’t want to lose him mid-season either.”

Arsenal were beaten to Mykhaylo Mudryk by London rivals Chelsea earlier in the January window but they ended up landing Leandro Trossard from Brighton instead.

On why Mudryk chose Chelsea over Arsenal, Jacobs said: “It was really a choice between moving now vs. staying. He wanted Arsenal all window. But when they didn’t meet Shakhtar’s terms, Chelsea persuaded him based on instant game-time and higher wages. But Arsenal stuck to their own package regardless of what Chelsea did and that was a factor.”

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