Arsenal have enjoyed an excellent start to the Premier League season, sitting pretty on top of the table after three wins to open their campaign.
The strong start on the pitch has followed a productive summer off it as Mikel Arteta further refines his squad after missing out on Champions League qualification last season.
Gabriel Jesus has begun life in London well, already scoring twice, while Oleksandr Zinchencko also appears to have settled in quickly.
The indications are that Arteta may not be finished tweaking with his playing group, though, with a handful of major targets still linked with the club.
The most obvious of these is Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, so often linked with Arsenal during the course of his career. The Belgian midfielder appears closer than ever to a move, though, and was left on the bench by Brendan Rodgers for the defeat against Southampton.
Tielemans is out of contract at the end of season, which has reportedly prompted Leicester to drop their asking price for the 25-year-old, raising Arsenal’s hopes of securing a deal.
Tielemans isn’t the only Midlands-based footballer attracting Arsenal’s attention. Wolves winger Pedro Neto signed a new deal until 2027 in March but is being connected with a move to London after impressing this year having returned from a serious knee injury.
Bruno Lage insisted that no bid had yet been made for the player, suggesting that he was not unduly concerned by the rumours. “I have heard that but nothing has come to us,” the Wolves manager said of links between Arsenal and Neto. “It’s normal now, with the good players that we have. No one told me anything about any proposal.”
Neto’s future may hinge on if Arsenal are able to shift Nicolas Pepe before the summer window closes. The Ivorian joined on a club-record fee three years ago but is yet to truly convince at the Emirates Stadium and a rumoured loan deal to Nice would seem to make sense for a player who started only five league games last season.
One winger unlikely to be moving on is Bukayo Saka – Arteta is “very confident” that the England international will sign an extension to his contract, which runs until the end of the 2023-24 season.
If Pepe does leave, Arsenal may also engage Bayer Leverkusen about the prospect of signingMoussa Diaby. Callum Hudson-Odoi’s loan to the German club from Chelsea is expected to go through, but Fabrizio Romano suggests that it would still take a major offer to convince Leverkusen to part with their French winger.
Another Arsenal player who appears able to leave is Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The 24-year-old has spent the second half of the last two seasons on loan (at West Brom and latterly Roma) but could leave on a season-long deal, or make a permanent move.
A number of Premier League clubs are said to be intrigued by the versatile Englishman’s availability, including West Ham, Fulham and Bournemouth, while there is also reported interest from Europe.