Tactical Insights

£220,000-per-week Barcelona star could leave as Arsenal open discussions


A Barcelona mainstay under Xavi last season could well leave the Nou Camp this summer, and it is believed Arsenal have now made an approach to sign him.

Edu and Arteta targeting new defenders for Arsenal

Manager Mikel Arteta is keen to bolster his backline ahead of another potential Premier League title challenge with Man City next season.

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24-year-old now reaches agreement to leave Arsenal for La Liga giants

The Spaniards are now looking to shake hands on a deal with Edu.

While both Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba have been crucial components of Arsenal’s success since the beginning of 2022/2023, with the pair forming an excellent partnership at the heart of Arteta’s backline, there is a case to be made that the Spaniard is lacking quality alternatives.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Jakub Kiwior can all play at centre-back, but have all been used in more makeshift full-back roles more often than not lately. Sporting director Edu Gaspar therefore has his eyes on potential new central defensive options, and a few interesting names have been linked recently.

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Arsenal are apparently considering talks to sign Marc Guehi from Crystal Palace, while the north Londoners are also in contention for Nottingham Forest stalwart Murillo and Man United target Jean-Clair Todibo.

“A name was mentioned to me a few weeks ago and that was Jean-Clair Todibo from Nice,” said journalist Chris Wheatley earlier this month.

“He’s, again, really sought-after, Man United have been the main name linked with him. But interestingly, I heard that he was above other players on Arsenal’s shortlist.

Arsenal’s best-performing untouchables in the Premier League last season

Average match rating (WhoScored)

Bukayo Saka

7.67

Declan Rice

7.38

Martin Odegaard

7.37

Kai Havertz

7.16

Gabriel Magalhaes

6.99

“The Nottingham Forest defender Murillo – he’s attracted a lot of interest, of course, he had an amazing first season at Forest. Plucked from Corinthians and he’s really caught a lot of interest from teams across the Premier League. Tottenham, as well, really like him.

“I think it’s more Edu at Arsenal who really likes Murillo than Arteta. But Todibo, he’s the one that was mentioned to me. It will be interesting to see exactly what happens to him this summer.”

It’s clear that a centre-back is on Edu and Arteta’s agenda for the coming weeks, and it is now believed that Barcelona defender Jules Kounde is attracting their admiration.

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The France international, who is currently representing Les Bleus at Euro 2024, made 35 La Liga appearances for the Catalans last season and was near-undroppable under ex-coach Xavi. However, according to broadcaster Jijantes (via Sport), this may not be the case under Hansi Flick next season.

Kounde could leave Barcelona as Arsenal open discussions

The Spanish news outlet claims Arsenal have opened initial discussions over signing Kounde by making contact with Barcelona. Despite the £220,000-per-week star’s importance last season, Kounde could still leave Barca as the La Liga heavyweights are open to suitable offers for half of their squad.

The club’s financial issues have been well documented over the last few seasons, with the Gunners now interested in stealing away Kounde, amid other reports he could cost as little as £43 million.



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