Arsenal transfer news: Gary Cahill, Eric Bailly, Mesut Ozil
Gunners boss Unai Emery is desperate for defensive reinforcements
Arsenal have three weeks to make up their minds between Gary Cahill and Eric Bailly, according to the UK press.
The Sun reports that the Gunners are poised to “launch a shock move for Chelsea outcast Cahill” as Unai Emery wrestles with an injury crisis at the Emirates.
Rob Holding is out for the rest of the season with ruptured knee ligaments, while Nacho Monreal is struggling with a hamstring injury and Konstantinos Mavrapanos has a dodgy groin. Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny is only starting to ease his way to match fitness after seven months out with an Achilles injury.
That has left Arsenal manager Emery desperate for defensive reinforcements in next month’s transfer window, and he is believed to view Cahill as a serious option. The 32-year-old is out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, and the word on the grapevine is that the former England defender won’t be offered a new deal by the Blues.
Asked about his defensive crisis, Emery told reporters: “If we can take one player to help us at centre-back, I think it’s a good option, but a transfer is not easy.”
Sarri questions Cahill’s technical ability
A key question for Arsenal is whether Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri would allow him to join a Premier League rival midway during the title race, says The Sun.
Sarri has spoken about Cahill’s future and claims that the defender’s technical skills don’t fit with his team’s style of play.
“I respect him very much because he has won everything with this club, but then I have to do my job,” Sarri told ESPN. “Every match I have to choose. For me it is not [possible] to have him on the bench. Maybe he is the best [of our defenders] in the box, but our defenders may play 100 or 110 balls in a match so I need defenders [to play] very technically.
“It is not my decision, it is up to him and the club [whether he stays]. He is in the last year of the contract, he has to decide for a new contract here or another club.
“For the [players] over 30 the club usually offers only one year of contract. If he has an offer of three years [somewhere else] he can of course choose something. It doesn’t depend if I am sentimental or not.”
Bailly a plan B?
The alternative for Emery is Manchester United defender Bailly, who has slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford this season.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast blocker is reportedly on Arsenal’s wishlist, with Manchester Evening News (MEN) claiming that he is Emery’s “prime candidate” for a January swoop.
Jose Mourinho is said to be reluctant to part with Bailly, but the Ivorian is said to be increasingly unsettled as a result of his lack of game time. The MEN claims he “would be willing to make the move should an appropriate offer arrive”.
Ozil’s swansong against Qarabag?
Rumours are spreading in north London that Mesut Ozil will be shipped out of the Emirates next month - but not before he’s had the pleasure of playing for Arsenal in a meaningless Europa League fixture against Qarabag.
The German playmaker was last seen in action against Wolves on 11 November, and has since been nursing a back strain. Or so the official line goes.
The Daily Star claims that his “fractious relationship with Unai Emery may also be playing a part in his absence”, and Ozil’s appearance tonight is allegedly the Spaniard’s way of humiliating the club’s best-paid player.
According to Ian Wright, the club “are considering cutting ties with the £350,000-a-week ace”, and the Arsenal legend thinks that is the right course of action.
Wright said: “I do not believe Arsenal can afford to be playing that kind of money and not getting a return, particularly when you look at what they’re trying to do at the moment.”