Youri Tielemans to Arsenal became a transfer rumour staple in this summer window. A move was spurred by the Gunners’ lack of quality midfield options and the Belgian’s contract with Leicester City expiring in 12 months. The rumour now seems to be all but over, according to multiple reports.
One would expect that when a player like Tielemans is available on the market with just 12 months left on his contract, which would make him available on a cut-price fee, clubs would be flocking to Leicester to acquire the player’s services. However, much to the Foxes’ dismay, the same hasn’t happened.
The Gunners have already completed massive signings early in the transfer window. The North London side signed Sao Paulo wonderkid Marquinhos, followed by FC Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira. Then, USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner arrived at the Emirates and finally, the Gunners completed the signing of this summer’s priority target, Gabriel Jesus, but the deal is yet to be announcement.
Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta believes it’s obvious where the next weakness lies and that is the team’s central midfield, hence the heavy Tielemans rumours. The North London side seemed to be the only club in the race to sign the 25-year-old midfielder.
Last month, reports would have had fans believing that the Belgium international was surely on his way to the Emirates Stadium. On the Talking Transfers Podcast, journalist Graeme Bailey (via HITC) reassured the fans that interest in Tielemans is genuine and Arsenal are pushing forward to make the move happen while the player would definitely welcome it. This confidence now seems to be misplaced.
According to Ryan Taylor of The Express (via HITC), the move is no longer happening, with the Gunners cooling down their interest in the Belgian international. The report states the transfer rumour has been circulated mainly by the agents and other sources instead of reliable club information.
So, there is a possibility that Arteta and Edu may have actually never wanted the player in the first place. The club’s lack of Champions League football in the upcoming season can also be a reason why the move is eventually not coming to fruition.
However, as reported by the Mirror, there are chances that the Arsenal manager actually never felt the need to bring Tielemans to the club. Moreover, it might be due to the realisation of who he already has in his bench to cover the role. Albert Sambi Lokonga, who they signed for £15 million last season, has been hailed as the next “Yaya Toure”.
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The Yaya Toure comparison about Lokonga stems from Man City legend and recently-appointed Burnley manager, Vincent Kompany. The first time Kompany saw the player, he had told Rio Ferdinand’s Youtube channel, FIVE:
“The first thing I did when I saw Sambi is I went to Mikel and also Pep, but Mikel first and said, ‘You got to watch this guy, he’s the new Yaya Toure.’“
The former City captain further worked with the player at Anderlecht where he again reiterated his massive comparison to Toure. Arsenal can save the money they would have otherwise spent on Tielemans and focus on nurturing a raw talent they have at their disposal, as they have done so many times in the past successfully.
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