Arsenal are growing more confident that they can beat Manchester City to the signing of a key defensive target.
Arsene Wenger is keen to add some defensive quality to his ranks this month and Jonny Evans is at the top of the list. The West Brom captain wants to leave and has just 18 months remaining on his current contract at the club. Whilst he’d prefer to stay in the north, Fresh Arsenal understands that Arsenal are currently more serious about their interest and are willing to offer in excess of £20million, plus Mathieu Debuchy.
Earlier today, the BBC reported Arsenal’s as well as Manchester City’s interest in Evans and talks are expected to advance this week.
Publically, West Brom are asking for £30million for Evans, though Arsenal feel a deal could be struck at £24million plus Debuchy, whom Alan Pardew is very interested in bringing to the club.
Pardew has also recently acknowledged that Evans is likely to leave the club this month after the player made it clear he did not want to stay at the club.
Back on December 30, Pardew told Sky Sports: “I have always thought that you would be slightly naive in your job if you didn’t try to cover all the barriers here, the options that might happen and might not happen,” said Pardew.
“So there is a scenario that Jonny Evans might move. For sure I have looked at that.
The West Brom captain has leadership qualities that would really benefit the Arsenal defence and the team have lacked such qualities in recent weeks. Shkodran Mustafi is not an Arsene Wenger favourite – as Wenger was happy to part with the German in the summer, whilst Per Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season and Laurent Koscielny has ongoing injury issues with his Achilles. Nacho Monreal has emerged as a central option, but he turns 32 in February and doesn’t look an ideal option in a back four. Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are two young English players, but there are doubts over both of their abilities to play at the highest level.
The fee does seem excessive for a defender who turned 30 in January, but Arsenal desperately need a defender equipped with Premier League experience and with Manchester City also interested, the Gunners may have little choice but to pay up. Arsene Wenger is definitely a fan so we will see if this one manages to get over the line. We will see how Manchester City react to Arsenal’s recent advances.
Unfortunately, this is the market these days and if Arsenal want a ready-made Premier League player to come in during the middle of the season, then they have to pay up.