Excitement for the 2023/24 season is well and truly building as Arsenal look to continue their rise up the table. Ahead of their Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest on August 12 they first have to take on Manchester City, a true test of their credentials.
Although the Community Shield rarely acts as a true precursor for failure or success in a season, in fact it is often the opposite, having lost out to Pep Guardiola’s side at the top last year, Mikel Arteta will be determined to get off on a positive note here.
It is a true curtain raiser for the season and following a mixed pre-season tour of America, there is still work to be done. The Gunners are closing in on a complete first XI but strength in depth is still desired heading into the final weeks of the window.
In order to fund those moves and improve across the park it seems like they will be parting ways with USMNT first-choice goalkeeper Matt Turner. The 29-year-old is subject to interest from Nottingham Forest and a deal for him is now advancing according to Fabrizio Romano.
He writes: “Nottingham Forest submitted an official bid for Matt Turner. Understand the proposal has been made for a permanent transfer, talks advancing with Arsenal.
“Crucial step in goalkeepers domino as #AFC keep negotiating with Brentford for David Raya, deal getting closer.” The Gunners are working hard to ensure that they have ample back-up for Aaron Ramsdale heading into the new season but could have been left waiting for Forest and Manchester United to discuss a move for Dean Henderson instead.
That now doesn’t look set to be an issue with Turner appearing to be the favourite for Forest, opening up two key moves for Arsenal as they continue to act quickly this summer.
football.london says: This makes sense for everyone, to some extent. Turner for sure is after first team football and needs to prove himself consistently so as to ensure he keeps his place as the No.1 for his country. With Gabriel Slonina’s emergence, there is a real chance he could lose his place in the coming years.
What doesn’t make sense is that Turner was in position as the secure second choice last summer and very little has changed. Unless there was the feeling that he would be able to overthrow Ramsdale, nothing is pushing this deal. Arsenal themselves may be keen to add Raya, someone they see is a bigger challenge for the gloves when it matters, but that in itself is questionable.
Strength in depth is good but very scarcely does it occur in goal, there’s a reason for it and squad dynamics could be harmed. Ramsdale wants to become England’s go-to man, Raya has the same ambitions for Spain and it’s hard to see both achieving this when in the same squad.
Selling Turner will be a nice cash influx to help fund the move but the logistics of it are not immediately clear. Although the individuals involved may each relish and aspire to such competition and opportunities. not all of them can win.
For Turner to be on his way out and Raya in, it is a simple swap, in effect. A deal that is less simple is looking at the attack. Mohammed Kudus is player deeply admired but progress has been hard to come by in the past two weeks with Chelsea present.
They are looking elsewhere at the same time though, especially with the injury to Gabriel Jesus posing as a serious threat to their early season form already.
It is reported in Spain that Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a player being looked at with Arteta and Edu Gaspar ‘preparing’ a bid worth £86million (£110m) for the Georgian winger. After breaking out in Italy last season Arsenal have planned to form a ‘scandalous trident’ with Kvaratskhelia involved alongside Bukayo Saka.
The Spanish coach has reportedly requested the player despite his wish to one day play for Real Madrid, something that currently looks unlikely due to their attention being turned towards Kylian Mbappe for now. However, Kvaratskhelia himself is said to be annoyed at links to a move away with him happy in Naples.
football.london says: In the modern football world very few players shoot onto the scene like Kvaratskhelia did last season. From being a nobody he was already being labelled as one of the best wingers in the world after just two months under Luciano Spalletti.
Completely unknown to many, his rapid and direct dribbling mixed with extremely efficient output saw him dazzle opponents in the Champions League, attracting attention from Europe’s top clubs. Arsenal were first linked with him back in November and it seems that the interest hasn’t died down.
Jesus’ injury will have shocked and scared Arsenal, especially after their title challenge went off the rails last season during a period in which their Brazilian talisman was far from his best whilst building up fitness. Under the added pressure of pundits and fans following their unexpected levels of success, there will be no excuses this season and Kvaratskhelia would be the perfect option to add competition and depth for league and continental matches.
It may well be hard to make such a deal possible but if there’s even a sniff of picking him up, even for a massive fee that would be the second biggest in the club’s history, it has to be explored.
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