Arsenal fans facing wait to see new faces

Potential deals are delayed by summer transfer windows

Friday, 3rd June — By Steve Barnett

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta

ARSENAL fans are itching for new signings, and might be wondering why their club has got the brakes on when Mikel Arteta’s squad is in such desperate need of improvement.

The simple answer is that the transfer window hasn’t even opened yet, with clubs in England and Scotland unable to officially start splashing the cash until next Friday.

Even then a number of potential deals will face further delays, with the summer window in France, Italy, Germany and Spain not opening until Friday, July 1.

Deals, of course, can be done in principle, as seen with Manchester City reaching an agreement for Erling Haaland.

But Arsenal like to put on a show when it comes to new signings, and nothing boosts shirt sales quite like parading a multimillion-pound purchase wearing the latest kit.

The Gunners could follow in Tottenham’s footsteps and start the ball rolling by bringing in a free transfer. Spurs signed Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic this week on a two-year deal, although the 33-year-old did hint that Arsenal inadvertently played their part in making the transfer happen.

Arteta’s side let a top-four finish slip as Totteham overhauled them – beating Arsenal 3-0 along the way – to secure a place in the Champions League. And Perisic said: “I was watching the last two or three games and, after the win against Arsenal, it was obvious Tottenham would reach the Champions League, and it was good for me because I want to play in the biggest games.”

Another factor potentially delaying Arsenal’s attempts to strengthen was last night’s (Wednesday) World Cup play-off between Scotland and Ukraine. The Gunners are desperate to reinforce their full-back positions with both Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu proving injury prone.

And the game at Hampden Park featured not one, but two potential targets with Arteta rumoured to be interested in signing Man City’s Ukrainian international Oleksandr Zinchenko and Scotland’s Aaron Hickey, who plys his trade in Serie A.

According to reports in Italy, a £21.75m move for Hickey, who joined Bologna from Hearts in 2020, is “very likely”, with Arteta placing the 19-year-old near the top of his wishlist.

At the very top of the shopping list, however, is a striker, and few have been linked with a move to north London more this summer than Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus.

With a £55m deal for the 25-year-old said to be a real possibility, Gabriel Magalhaes wasn’t shy in sharing his views on his compatriot joining him at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking at a press conference with Brazil’s national team on Sunday, the defender said: “We play in the same dressing room, but nothing is certain. He is certainly a quality player and, if he goes to Arsenal, he will help us a lot.”

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