Arsenal suffer double transfer blow with Milan ‘closing in’ on striker as teenager snubs Gunners

Jason Soutar
Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal is looking unlikely
Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal is looking unlikely

Arsenal are set to miss out on Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee, who is closing in on a move to Serie A giants AC Milan, according to reports.

The Gunners have been strongly linked with Zirkzee this year, with Mikel Arteta reportedly looking to add a new No. 9 this summer.

Bringing in a world-class striker was a top priority before Kai Havertz proved his worth as a No. 9 in the second half of 2023/24.

This has relieved some pressure on Arsenal manager Arteta, who can now spend the majority of his budget on improving in midfield, rather than spending £100million+ on someone like Alexander Isak (Newcastle United), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) or Victor Osimhen (Napoli).

Instead, Arsenal have reportedly been looking at younger players with the potential to become world-class, such as Zirkzee and RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko.

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Links to Zirkzee have been coming from abroad, mainly in Italy, while several journalists based in England – and Fabrizio Romano – have claimed the Premier League giants are looking at Sesko, who is also being targetted by Manchester United and Chelsea.

Milan have also been hotly linked with Zirkzee despite reported attempts from the player’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, to move him to England, where he and his client will make more money.

It appears that the young Dutchman – who helped Bologna qualify for the Champions League – would rather stay in Italy and is now closing in on a transfer to the Rossoneri.

Serie A giants ‘closing in on signing’ of Arsenal striker target

According to Milan-based transfer expert Matte Moretto, AC have told Bologna that they will trigger Zirkzee’s €40million (£34m) release clause.

It was reported months ago that the 23-year-old’s release clause was only valid for his former club Bayern Munich, but that does not seem to be the case.

Triggering the clause means there will be no negotiations between the two Italian clubs and Milan are now ‘working to reach a total agreement with the player and the Dutchman’s agent’.

That should not be too difficult as Zirkzee ‘wants to stay in Italy’ and will be pleased that Milan have ‘moved first and most decisively’, meaning there is ‘optimism’ a deal can be struck.

A report from CaughtOffside has added that Milan are ‘closing in on the signing’ of Zirkzee, who scored 11 goals and made five assists in 34 Serie A matches in 23/24.

Echoing what Moretto has said, this report claims the Serie A giants ‘are ready to pay his release clause’ with talks ongoing ‘over contract details’.

In a blow to Arsenal, it is again stated that Zirkzee ‘would prefer to remain in Italy and has given Milan priority to get a deal done’.

The report adds that Arsenal have ‘held talks’ with Bologna and the player’s representatives and were prepared to offer him a five-year contract.

With Zirkzee seemingly off the table, the Gunners ‘will now look to get a deal done for Sesko’.

Arsenal target publicly rules out summer transfer

The bad news keeps on coming for Arsenal, who will not be signing Ajax wonderkid Jorrel Hato this summer.

Speaking this week, Hato poured cold water over speculation, confirming that he will be playing for Ajax in 24/25.

“No, I’ll just play for Ajax next season,” the 18-year-old defender said.

“I haven’t finished learning here yet. And I want to win prizes with Ajax. That was my dream when I came here.”

Arsenal have been strongly linked with Hato for a while. The teenager has captained Ajax on several occasions already and is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in the game.

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