Arsenal could win again from Declan Rice transfer as Plan B now better, cheaper and available

Steven Chicken
Youssouf Fofana in action for France
Youssouf Fofana in action for France

Arsenal have ‘opened talks’ with Youssouf Fofana to try and discern whether he’d be up for making the move from AS Monaco this summer – but a formal bid is still yet to be made for his services, according to reports.

The midfielder was apparently lined up last summer while Arsenal while bidding for Declan Rice, with the France international effectively made their plan B if a deal for the then-West Ham United man did not go through.

Youssouf Fofana and Monaco hopeful of summer departure

It did, of course, and so Fofana remained at Monaco — but he now has just one year left on his deal and has admitted that he and the club have agreed that looking for a new club probably suits everybody best at this stage. A £17m transfer fee has reportedly been attached to his signature, which has reportedly prompted Arsenal to re-open informal talks about whether he’d be interested.

He told L’Equipe: “I’ve spoken about my future with the club…it’s not a secret. We have an agreement to move towards the next stage (trying to sell him). If that doesn’t happen, I will do this last season in Monaco. I hope everyone wins this summer.”

Arsenal are not the only club to have been linked with Fofana: Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be keen on pursuing a deal for the 25 year old, who is doing a very good job of making himself seem relaxed about the whole thing.

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He added: “[PSG] are a big French club, and already a big club in Europe. Do I see myself there? Not necessarily. I don’t have any obsessions. If it comes, why not. If it doesn’t come, I’m not going to have nightmares about it.”

Fofana has been a regular for Monaco this season and has had a particularly fruitful season developing his game to be more of a box-to-box player, rather than the more defensive-minded role he had previously played.

Having scored just two prior Ligue Un goals in four seasons at Monaco, Fofana struck four times this season – including three in his last nine – and says that his new-found productivity in front of goal was no accident, but rather the result of a concerted effort to develop his game.

He said: “From the start of the year, the club asked me to push further forward, and it’s true that in the last 25 yards, I had a little difficulty with my end product, on the last pass or on the shot; I had difficulty positioning myself. As you can see, I became decisive towards the end. Over time, we become good wine.”