Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's win against West Ham
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Arsenal could be forced to shell out a club-record fee in order to land Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby in the upcoming summer transfer window, according to reports. The Gunners are said to be keen on bringing the 22-year-old to north London as Mikel Arteta looks to improve his ranks in advance of a renewed top-four challenge in the Premier League next season.
Diaby is said to have no shortage of English clubs keeping tabs on his development in Germany, with Arsenal believed to have already initiated talks regarding a move to the Emirates Stadium in the not-too-distant future. However, they will be forced to meet Leverkusen’s asking price of £84.2million to stand the best chance of striking a deal with the Bundesliga heavyweights, according to the print edition of Bild.
It is claimed that Arsenal have been making ‘very serious efforts’ in their pursuit of Diaby, who has chipped in with 16 goals and a further 13 assists in all competitions for Leverkusen this season. They are said to be aware of the Frenchman’s lucrative price tag but are yet to be deterred, which suggests that a big-money move to the Premier League could soon be on the horizon for Diaby if the stars align for the Gunners over the coming weeks.
The £84m fee quoted by Leverkusen would eclipse the club-record sum of £72m that was paid by Arsenal to land Nicholas Pepe from Lille back in 2019. However, there is said to be a chance that Leverkusen will lower their demands if Diaby kicks up a fuss about leaving the club in order to force through a move elsewhere.
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Arsenal were the Premier League’s biggest spenders last summer and are expected to splash plenty of funds in the market once again between now and the start of next season. It remains to be seen whether they will ultimately decide against finalising a move for Diaby, though, in order to avoid parting ways with the majority of their transfer budget in exchange for just one player.
They are likely to have plenty of other potential signings on their radar, with the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Darwin Nunez having been linked with the Gunners alongside a number of additional forward targets in recent weeks. Arteta has already underlined the importance of getting things right in terms of player recruitment over the coming months as he aims to prepare for a fresh assault on the Premier League’s upper reaches next season.
“I think now is the moment we have to go to a different level,” the Arsenal boss recently told Sky Sports. “We have been able to get the squad balance in a much better shape.
“Financially, we are in a much more stable position with the money we have spent on certain players touching the pitch for a certain amount of minutes. That balance is much better spread out across the squad and now is the moment to raise the quality.”
The likelihood of Diaby joining Arsenal this summer could hinge on whether or not the Gunners manage to qualify for next season’s Champions League over the next few weeks. Arteta’s side currently find themselves in the driving seat in front of Tottenham and Manchester United ahead of next week’s north London derby, which could have a seismic effect on the club’s top-four hopes if things go wrong against their bitter rivals.
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