Arsenal add €100m Real Madrid star to transfer shortlist as failsafe for pair of Rice partner priorities

Will Ford
Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni

Arsenal will reportedly ‘test the waters’ for Real Madrid star Aurelien Tchouameni if they fail to land either Moises Caicedo or Romeo Lavia, who are their top targets to partner Declan Rice next season.

The Gunners agreed the £105m transfer of Rice from West Ham earlier this week, beating Manchester City to the England international, but Mikel Arteta wants to add a further midfielder to his ranks this summer.

Brighton’s Caicedo remains on their shortlist after they had two bids rejected for the Ecuador international in January, though Chelsea are thought to be leading that race.

Manchester United are also in the mix for the 21-year-old, though there’s doubt over their ‘true intentions’, with reports suggesting they’re simply trying to ‘irritate’ Chelsea into parting with Mason Mount.

Arsenal have also made moves to sign Romeo Lavia from Southampton, but so too have Chelsea and Liverpool.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted: ‘Understand Liverpool asked conditions of Roméo Lavia deal, they’re in the race. Arsenal, working on this deal for 15 days — no official bid from both clubs yet. #LFC Man Utd and Chelsea, monitoring the situation but not in active talks yet.’

Competition for both potential moves has reportedly led Arsenal to seek alternatives, and Jacque Talbot of Football Transfers claims they will ‘test the waters’ over a move for Tchouameni should they miss out on their two top targets.

Newcastle were recently linked and Liverpool reportedly came close to signing the France international last summer before he moved to Real Madrid, where he has endured an inconsistent debut campaign.

Despite that inconsistency the report claims Madrid president Florentino Perez sees the midfielder as a ‘centre-piece for next season’ and ‘has told Carlo Ancelotti to provide Tchouameni with more minutes next campaign as part of a double-pivot’.

Perez ‘will certainly not accept anything less than the €100 million that Real paid AS Monaco last summer’.

Claims Jude Bellingham’s arrival will limit his game time are wide of the mark according to Perez, with the England international set to ‘be played as a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1’ with Eduardo Camavinga expected to play alongside Tchouameni.

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