Arsenal are closely monitoring the highly-rated Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez ahead of the January transfer window, Football Insider understands.
The north London outfit are assessing potential centre-back options as the club look to strengthen their brittle defence.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the Gunners have already jetted out on regular transfer missions to assess 22-year-old Unai and plan to step up their rumoured pursuit.
The Premier League giants have been encouraged by the centre-half losing his regular starting role at the Spanish club.
Nunez started the first two matches of the season, playing the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 win against Barcelona in August, but he has found himself mainly playing a back-up role in the team following the return to fitness of first-choice Inigo Martinez.
That could open the window for the Gunners to make a swoop for a player who has been likened to Manchester City’s star Aymeric Laporte.
However, there is also interest in UNai from Everton, who have also struggled defensively in the new season.
Arsenal’s first-choice centre-back pairing this campaign have been Sokratis and surprise summer acquisition, David Luiz.
However, they have looked vulnerable and the Englishman Rob Holding is expected to challenge for a first-team role now he is fully recovered from a knee injury that has sidelined him for 10 months.
The Gunners spent a club-record £72million on Nicolas Pepe in the summer as well as £6 million for Gabriel Martinelli, £25 million for Kieran Tierney, £8 million for Luiz and £27 million on William Saliba.
According to the Bristol Live journalist Gregor Macgregor, Unai Emery’s Arsenal are monitoring the development of the highly-rated midfielder Han-Noah Massengo.
The Bristol City ace has attracted the interest of Arsenal’s scout, who are keeping tabs on him this campaign.
While the journalist has iterated that the club’s interest may not be concrete, he has suggested that he will not be surprised if Arsenal do develop a real interest on Han-Hoah.
A former member of the AS Monaco youth set-up, Noah Massengo initially moved to Bristol City this summer.
He was rated as one of the best talents in Les Monegsaques youth department. As a result, the Championship side had to fork out a staggering €8m.
As a result, he became the second most expensive acquisition in the club’s history, just behind ex-Chelsea prodigy Tomas Kalas.
Either way, his arrival was a big deal for Bristol. And though the French starlet hasn’t necessarily made a considerable impact, Massengo has become a vital member of the Bristol midfield.
Indeed, the talent has already notched up 642 minutes of league football, and his skill and composure in the middle of the park has been crucial as the club look to challenge for promotion this campaign.
Nonetheless, Arsenal would definitely welcome the addition of someone like him, who can fill the void left by Egypt international Mohamed Elneny and to an extent, Aaron Ramsey. Therefore, Massengo is indeed a viable target for Arsenal.
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil insists he’ll see out his current contract with the club and will not be departing the Gunners in January.
The German has been heavily connected with an exit from the Emirates as he has started just one league game this term.
Manager Unai Emery was keen on offloading Mesut last January but Arsenal couldn’t find a buyer for the 30-year-old star, who signed a new four-year contract worth £350,000-a-week in 2018.
Ozil briefly won back his spot towards the end of last campaign but he’s been further marginalised this season following the arrival of Dani Ceballos.
Unai has offered few assurances to Mesut over his long-term future but the German star insists his future remains in north London and he won’t leave before his contract expires in 2021.
Asked whether he’d be leaving the club, the player told the Athletic: ‘No. I have a contract until the summer of 2021 and I will be staying until then.
‘When I signed the new deal, I thought about it very carefully and said it was one of the most important decisions of my footballing career.
‘You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I’m not going to. I’m here until at least 2021.’
Unai was influential in Arsenal’s decision to withdraw a contract proposal to Aaron Ramsey worth around £200,000 per week and he remains keen to cut the club’s wage bill.
The coach effectively utilised a budget of just £45 million last summer to bring in the likes of Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Nicolas Pepe.