Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby has reportedly emerged as a leading target on Arsenal’s six-man shortlist ahead of the summer transfer window.
Mikel Arteta has enjoyed a transformative period at the Emirates Stadium this season, with his Gunners side qualifying for the Champions League and still in the race to win the Premier League title.
Arteta bolstered his squad with the additions of Leandro Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior in January, and Arsenal are expected to strengthen further ahead of the 2023-24 campaign as they bid to challenge on all fronts and maintain their position at the top end of the English football.
According to The Mail, the Gunners hold a ‘serious interest’ in Leverkusen winger Diaby, who has developed into a key player for the Bundesliga club in recent seasons.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a productive 2022-23 campaign in front of goal, contributing with 14 goals and 10 assists in 42 games across all competitions, including three strikes in six Europa League games en route to the semi-finals.
Arteta is said to want further depth in the attacking department, with Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson the main options as his disposal at present.
However, Nelson is facing an uncertain future in North London as he is understood to have turned down a contract extension, with his current deal expiring this summer.
Arsenal will likely face stern competition from the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain for Diaby, who is valued at around £50m by Leverkusen and is contracted to the German club until June 2025.
The report adds that Arsenal are also interested in Crystal Palace duo Wilfried Zaha and Marc Guehi, with the former a known Gunners supporters and out of contract at Selhurst Park this summer.
Guehi, meanwhile, is said to have impressed Arsenal’s recruitment team, with the 22-year-old centre-back having established himself as an influential first-team member for the Eagles, making 78 appearances since joining the club from Chelsea in 2021.
In addition, Arteta is said to have identified West Ham United captain Declan Rice as his primary midfield target, although the 24-year-old’s £100m valuation could prove to be a stumbling block.
Rice is expected to depart the Hammers to pursue his dream of playing in the Champions League, and Arteta is believed to be confident that he can persuade the England international – who has also attracted interest from Man United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – to move to the Emirates.
Two more Premier League midfielders on Arsenal’s transfer shortlist are Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo and Southampton’s Romeo Lavia.
Caicedo was subject to two big-money bids from the Gunners in January but a move to North London failed to materialise as Brighton had no interest in letting the highly-rated Ecuador international depart the club midway through the season.
The 21-year-old penned a new long-term contract with the Seagulls earlier this year, but Arsenal are allegedly preparing to revive their interest in the £100m-rated midfielder ahead of the new season.
Lavia, meanwhile, has impressed in his debut season for Southampton since joining from Man City last summer, but the in-demand 19-year-old is likely to depart St Mary’s especially if the Saints suffer relegation from the Premier League.
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