Arsenal are allegedly plotting a move to land out-of-favour Manchester City centre-back John Stones in the January transfer market.
The 26-year-old star has failed to live up to expectations since swapping Everton for the Citizens in 2016 and is struggling for regular minutes this campaign, with Pep Guardiola favouring Aymeric Laporte and summer signing Ruben Dias at the heart of his defence.
John will be desperate to boost his playing time in order to win back a place in Gareth Southgate’s England roster ahead of next summer’s European Championships and could be faced with a tough decision should the Gunners step up their interest for his signature this January.
According to Eurosport, the north Londoners are one of several clubs keeping a close eye on the current situation and have asked to be kept informed about any developments regarding his potential availability.
The report states the north London outfit would like to speak with the centre-back if he is made available.
Arsenal have prioritised strengthening their defensive options in January and manager Mikel Arteta knows Stones well after his three-and-a-half year stint as Guardiola’s assistant at City.
Arteta will be aware of the potential risks involved in landing the error-prone Stones but is confident he can resurrect the defender’s career at the Emirates.
Stones was handed a rare start as his side thumped Burnley last weekend and Guardiola gave the player hope of more playing time after CIty’s 5-0 victory.
‘He played two already,’ Pep said. ‘The previous season it was difficult to feel it – sometimes for my decisions but most of the time because of injuries.
‘It’s good again because he was so concentrated and didn’t make any mistakes.
‘What we are looking for from the back four is to not make mistakes.’
Arsenal have added Norwich star Emiliano Buendia to their list of targets as the club look for more creativity, according to reports.
They have left Mesut Ozil out of their roster for the season, and while he may have suffered a drop in form in the latest years, the decision has left the Gunners short of creativity in midfield.
Even before snubbing Mesut, Mikel Arteta was on the lookout for midfield acquisitions in the summer. The Spaniard brought in Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, but also wanted Lyon ace Houssem Aouar.
Arsenal were unable to seal a deal for the latter, though. Therefore, they continue to be mentioned with him ahead of the January window.
However, Houssem has recently hinted he is content at his boyhood club and is likely to see out the rest of the campaign at least. Therefore, the Gunners have had to turn their attention elsewhere.
One major target to emerge has been RB Salzburg ace Dominik Szoboszlai. However, the Gunners will face a lot of competition for the Hungarian star.
With those factors in mind, Arsenal have extended their shortlist to include another name and according to football.london, they are keen on Buendia.
The Argentine was one of his side’s better players last season. In spite of the Canaries suffering relegation, he still managed to create more chances than any other player in the league other than Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin De Bruyne.
After Norwich were relegated, a number of sides were linked with keeping Buendia in the PL. He was reportedly a target for Leeds United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
However, he ended up staying at the Carrow Road outfit, where he has been since 2018. But now, Emi could be on the radar of top-flight teams again.
Tottenham’s Eric Dier has jumped to the defence of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and named the Spaniard as ‘the most exciting young manager in Europe’ ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.
Arsenal and Arteta finished last campaign on a high, beating Chelsea to win the FA Cup, but Mikel is under increasing pressure after a pair of defeats and a draw in the club’s last three Premier League matches.
Top-of-the-table Tottenham are already eight points better off than Arsenal – who are languishing down in 14th place – and Jose Mourinho’s side will be confident of victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane and firing on all cylinders.
But Dier stressed the clubs’ position in the standings was ‘irrelevant’ at such an early stage of the season and expects a ‘great game’ between the two bitter rivals in couple of days.
‘The position in the table is irrelevant and I think it’s very early on in the season for both teams,’ he told Sky Sports. It’s going to be a great game either way and one we’re really looking forward to.’
The England international insisted the Gunners were in ‘good hands’ despite their poor run of results under Mikel in recent weeks.
Asked whether their results are likely to improve, eric replied: ‘Yeah, of course. They’ve got a lot of quality in their team and I think they’ve got a very exciting young manager.
‘I think he’s maybe the most – personally, obviously I’m not on the inside! – but from what I see, the most exciting young manager in Europe, for sure
‘I like his way and the way in which he seems to be as a manager so I think they’re in good hands in that sense.’