With Aaron Ramsey set to leave Arsenal for greener pastures in Turin, the Gunners will suddenly have a big hole to fill in midfield. Unai Emery could try to fill the void by promoting from within, but Arsenal seem far more likely to try and address the need in the upcoming summer transfer window.
One name that has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates is Dennis Praet, who is fresh off of an outstanding campaign with Sampdoria in Serie A. Recent reports have indicated that Praet’s contract includes a £23million release clause. That’s a price Arsenal can afford to pay if they do have interest in triggering it, but Praet has since denied that such a clause exists in his contract.
Arsenal are not flush with transfer money this summer, so if the price tag for Praet jumps much more, any potential move could be in jeopardy.
Praet’s versatility should come in handy for an Arsenal side that allowed a whopping 51 goals in the Premier League this past season. The Gunners do boast a high-octane attack, but until they fix the leaky defence, they will not be considered among the odds-on favourites to win the English top flight. Most bookmakers (try these top UK betting sites) have Manchester City and Liverpool as massive favourites to win the Premier League in 2020.
With no release clause in place, Sampdoria can demand whatever they want in exchange for Praet’s signature. That could obviously thin his potential market considerably, but the club are reportedly prepared to let him move to a bigger club in this window.
In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Praet commented, “I want to move to a top club in one of the four top leagues. I don’t have a release clause, but Sampdoria have verbally agreed to grant me a move if an interesting offer arrives.”
Praet, 25, has played at Sampdoria since 2016 after beginning his professional career with Anderlecht in his native Belgium. The midfielder has scored four goals in 98 appearances for Sampdoria to this point.
It makes sense that Arsenal would have interest in a player of his calibre, but the Gunners will have plenty of other names on their wish list if no agreement comes to fruition. Adrien Rabiot, the out-of-favour midfielder at Paris St. Germain, is another player that has been linked with a move to the Emirates recently.
A move to Arsenal would bring some familiarity for Praet. His former midfield partner with Sampdoria, Lucas Torreira, left the club to join Arsenal in a £26 million switch last summer.
Praet has been on the Gunners’ radar for quite some time. Former manager Arsene Wenger reportedly registered his interest in the player after Praet put on an impressive performance for Anderlecht against Wenger’s side in Champions League play about five years ago.
Emery reportedly has just £40million in spending money for the summer, but any potential sales will obviously boost his transfer budget. Joachim Andersen, another Sampdoria player, is reportedly someone in which Emery has an interest, as well.
In addition to Ramsey, there is a chance Arsenal lose both Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka this summer. Elneny is expected to leave the Emirates despite signing a new contract just last year, while Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan have shown interest in luring Xhaka to Italy.