Arsenal transfer news: Zaha, Bergkamp, Pepe, Partey, Saliba
Gunners out to sign Palace star Wilfried Zaha as club legend Dennis Bergkamp eyes coaching role in England
Arsenal will have to break the bank to land Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha this summer, with the Eagles refusing to budge on their £80m asking price for the 26-year-old.
Unai Emery is said to be desperate to sign Zaha after he led Palace to victory over the Gunners at the Emirates last month, but the Arsenal head coach only has a transfer budget of £40m - at the moment.
The Sun says that sum would increase considerably if Arsenal secure a spot in next season’s Champions League by beating Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday 29 May.
Zaha is also said to have told Palace that “he wants to leave for a Champions League club”, giving Emery an added incentive to ensure his boys beat the Blues in Baku.
The Spaniard sees Zaha as the man to replace Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey, and the newspaper suggests that Emery could try to lower Palace’s valuation by giving them Callum Chambers and Carl Jenkinson as part of the deal.
Lille have confirmed that Nicolas Pepe will leave the club this summer, reports the Daily Mirror, and that is good news for both the Gunners and Manchester United.
The Premier League pair have made no secret of their interest in the 23-year-old Ivory Coast frontman, but they’re not the only ones.
Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are also tailing Pepe, and Lille are hoping all the interest will spark a bidding war that pushes his final transfer fee way beyond their valuation of £45m.
The Daily Star reports that Unai Emery was in Spain at the weekend - and it wasn’t to catch up with family and friends.
Instead, the Arsenal boss was a keen observer as Levante took on Atletico Madrid in a league clash, with his attention focused on Thomas Partey.
The Atletico defensive midfielder is the sort of no-nonsense player that Arsenal badly need to boss the centre of the park, and the newspaper claims Emery is ready to outbid Manchester United for the 25-year-old Ghanian.
Saliba in the sights
Arsenal are “eyeing up” a move for Saint-Etienne centre-back William Saliba, according to Goal.com.
The 18-year-old defender has had a breakthrough season in Ligue 1 and his form has caught the eye of Unai Emery, who has been “impressed with the maturity he has shown”.
Goal says that Arsenal scouts were in France at the weekend to watch Saliba give another composed display in Saint-Etienne’s 3-0 home win Nice.
The strapping 6ft 4in defender signed a new four-year contract in April, but the French media claim that the club “are aware that it will be hard to keep hold of the France Under-19 international”.
The Daily Mirror says that Dennis Bergkamp has put Arsenal “on red alert” with a declaration that he wants to return to English football.
The Gunners legend played a significant role in nurturing the Ajax team that reached the semi-final of the Champions League, but he left as academy coach last summer after “a string of rows with sporting director Marc Overmars”.
Now Bergkamp is eyeing a role in England, although the Mirror insists the 50-year-old “is not pitching for Unai Emery’s job”. Rather he wants to develop Arsenal’s youngsters.
“At Ajax, I formed a bridge between the academy and the first-team,” he said. “And I want to work in a similar way - talent development, a role on the coaching staff and, where needed, working individually with top talents.”
Describing his decade at Arsenal as a “special period”, Bergkamp added: “I enjoyed my football in London from day one. I loved the English culture… driving through the packed streets of London, seeing all those fans.”