Arsenal ‘keeping tabs’ on ideal addition after 2022 interest as Arteta eyes another Man City reunion

Jason Soutar
Arsenal-linked defender Kyle Walker-Peters during a match

Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters is one of many full-backs Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has on his radar ahead of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

The Saints landed Walker-Peters from Tottenham for £12million in August 2020.

The defender has been very consistent for the Hampshire club but is expected to leave at the end of the season after their relegation to the Championship was confirmed.

Walker-Peters should not be short of suitors in the summer transfer window having impressed at St Mary’s.

And Arsenal are expected to sign at least one defender in the summer transfer window.

It is unclear whether or not Arteta will pursue a natural right-back, which can help Benjamin White slot back into the centre of defence, or if he will sign a centre-back with the former Brighton man keeping his spot on the right.

Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi is one of the centre-backs on Arteta’s radar, though he is expected to cost a lot of money, unlike Southampton’s Armel Bella-Kotchap or Barcelona’s Eric Garcia, who have both been linked with the Gunners.

Walker-Peters is a desirable acquisition due to his versatility, both tactically and positionally.

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He is very two-footed and can operate on the left or right, and would suit Arteta’s needs as an inverted left-back. And, if need be, he would be a useful wing-back.

According to The Athletic, the Gunners have been keeping tabs on Walker-Peters for quite some time.

‘Several’ clubs were ‘monitoring’ the 26-year-old last summer ‘as no progress was made over a new Southampton contract’ as Arsenal ‘kept tabs’ alongside Manchester United and Everton.

The player’s current deal expires in two years’ time and with the Saints preparing for life in the second tier, he will surely be off this summer.

Another report, this time from 90min said Walker-Peters is also a target for Aston Villa, though they are prioritising the ambitious signing of Manchester City’s Kyle Walker.

Speaking last month, Walker-Peters said a summer departure is not guaranteed.

He said: “First and foremost, nobody wants a relegation on their CV. It would be really disappointing for the group, for the club and for the fans. Nobody wants that.

“But I think people need to understand that the reality of things is you don’t just get a move when the team is relegated.”

Another versatile defender the Gunners are believed to be interested in is Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo.

90min reported earlier this week that Cancelo is a target for Arsenal with Arteta a big admirer of the Portuguese international.

And Portuguese outlet A Bola say Arteta wants to bring the player in. He is currently on loan at Bayern Munich – who can sign him for €70m at the end of the season but are not expected to do so.

Barcelona are also reportedly interested, while Arsenal have also been linked with Real Madrid left-back Edouard Mendy.

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