Arsenal Round-Up: Transfer revelation, Battle for PSV forward, Injury boost
Folarin Balogun has revealed Alexandre Lacazette urged him to depart from Arsenal last term and ‘kept on telling’ him to move to Ligue 1.
The 21-year-old forward made his Premier League debut last term, however, he was limited to just four games for the first-team, despite the side’s struggles up front.
Balogun was tipped to depart from the North London giants at the end of his deal, however, he was convinced to sign a new four-year contract in north London after extensive talks with Mikel Arteta.
The North London giants spent big on signing Gabriel Jesus from Man City last summer and the Brazilian’s hit the ground running at the Emirates.
Jesus replaced Lacazette after the Frenchman joined Ligue 1 giants, Lyon at the end of his current deal with the Gunners.
Lacazette was part of the reason that Balogun couldn’t break into the Gunners team and the youngster joined Reims on a season-long loan deal before the season started.
And the forward has revealed that Lacazette ‘kept on telling’ him to leave the North London giants because he felt he would thrive in France.
‘He’s a great player,’ Balogun said of Lacazette in an interview with Amazon Prime Video Sport.
‘When he was at Arsenal he would always help me progress and improve, teaching me techniques and giving me advice.
‘I remember speaking to Lacazette and he kept on telling me: you need to go to Ligue 1, you will do well here. Maybe he should become my agent as well because he has a great knowledge of football!”
‘I’ve spent my whole career in London so when I came here I knew it was going to be different, I didn’t know the language and I’m still trying to learn – but for me, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
‘This is the reason I’m here and hopefully this decision will be good for me and pay off.’
Leeds United and Arsenal go head-to-head to sign 23-year-old forward in January
Leeds United and Arsenal are reportedly planning to try again for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window.
The Netherlands international earned rumours with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool earlier this year after bursting onto the scene in his homeland with PSV.
However, reported interest from the Gunners did not materialise into anything serious as the North London giants instead swooped for Gabriel Jesus, Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira to strengthen their attacking line.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils instead forked out £85m to sign Antony from Ajax.
The 23-year-old PSV forward was believed to have been courted by Leeds in the final knockings of the transfer window, and the Saints were reportedly waiting in the wings as well.
The window ultimately shut with the forward still on the books at the Philips Stadion, however, according to Fabrizio Romano, Leeds will renew their interest in the January market.
Romano adds that Gakpo has been earmarked as Jesse Marsch’s top transfer target for the mid-season window, however, the Whites will have to fend off numerous other clubs to sign him.
PSV director John de Jong has confirmed that Leeds did hold talks over a move for Gakpo last month, but Leeds supposedly did not come up with a good enough offer following Whites chief Victor Orta’s journey to Eindhoven.
“I think everyone knows that a club has to make an outgoing transfer every year. That’s in the budget. So did we, but in the end, there was not such a good offer on the table that we really considered letting him go,” De Jong told PSV TV, as quoted by Voetbal International.
“I think everyone knows that a club has to make an outgoing transfer every year. That’s in the budget. So did we, but in the end, there was not such a good offer on the table that we really considered letting him go. It’s hard, it was hard for Cody too. We got together on Thursday morning to talk about it.”
Gakpo – who is contracted to PSV until 2026 – has scored 49 goals and provided 39 assists in 145 appearances for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side across all competitions, including seven goals and six assists from 10 games so far this season.
Arsenal handed huge injury boost ahead Everton clash
Arsenal anchorman Thomas Partey reportedly expects to recover from a thigh injury before the upcoming international break.
The Ghana international midfielder has not played for the North London giants since sustaining his latest issue last month and has missed his side’s last three Premier League matches against Man Utd, Fulham and Aston Villa.
Partey has struggled to stay fit throughout his Gunners career after initially joining from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020, however, he was recently called up to Ghana’s team for their September games with Brazil and Nicaragua.
Arsenal head-coach Mikel Arteta admitted earlier this month that Partey could take “weeks” to recover from the problem, and the North London giants unsuccessfully tried to add to their midfield ranks on transfer deadline day.
However, the Evening Standard reports that Partey is hopeful of being back in action for the English top-tier leaders before the first international period of the season gets underway.
The report claims that Partey is hopeful of being involved in club training at some point this week, however, the Europa League match with FC Zurich will come too soon for the 29-year-old to return.
The North London giants will welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday when they resume domestic action, and Partey supposedly has a slim chance of play against Tofees.
Prior to signing for the Gunners, Partey had only ever sat out six games during his five-year spell as a senior Atletico Madrid player, and Arteta is at a loss to explain the sudden surge in his physical problems since arriving at the Emirates.
“We have tried to manage him. A lot has happened since he joined, obviously, and we are trying the best possible way to find the reasons,” Arteta recently told a press conference.
“Unfortunately the body and the mind are too difficult sometimes to understand and put a finger on a single thing to try to prevent something happening.
“The attitude of the player is there with his willingness. He is really disappointed again obviously as you can imagine and the team needs him.”
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