Premier League • England

Arteta in dreamland as Arsenal move into pole position for world-class signing; agent makes big contract decision

Mikel Arteta at the Arsenal training ground

Mikel Arteta at the Arsenal training ground

Mikel Arteta will be delighted as Arsenal have reportedly put themselves at the front of the queue to sign Napoli star Victor Osimhen, with transfer rivals Chelsea and Real Madrid seemingly brushed aside.

Arsenal took their winning run to five games in all competitions on Saturday as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at the Emirates. The Gunners took the lead through Bukayo Saka early on when he finished on his right foot after great work by Gabriel Jesus and a clever pass by Takehiro Tomiyasu.

And Arsenal were 2-0 up by the 13th minute, as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus played a lovely one-two before the former set up Martin Odegaard, who made no mistake with his low finish.

Wolves got a goal back late on when Matheus Cunha fired past David Raya after Arsenal had failed to clear their lines. But it was too late for Wolves to mount a sufficient comeback, and Arsenal nearly made it 3-1 when Eddie Nketiah hit the post.

The victory leaves Arsenal in top spot in the Premier League, two points ahead of second-placed Liverpool.

Centre-forward Jesus was brilliant against Wolves, playing an important role in both of Arsenal’s goals. When analysing the Brazilian on BBC Match of the Day, Alan Shearer admitted ‘he’s not a goalscorer’ but said he ‘brings more to Arsenal’s game than goals’.

READ MORE: Blow for Arsenal, Tottenham as sporting director says ‘absolutely not’ to January transfer for defender

Shearer added that Arsenal do not have to have a 20-goal striker to win the league, as Manchester City and Chelsea have coped without in the past. Although, he believes other players will have to chip in with regular goals to make up for Jesus’ lack of goalscoring prowess.

Ahead of the January transfer window opening, Arsenal have been linked with some top strikers who would provide Jesus with serious competition, including Osimhen and Ivan Toney.

Update on Victor Osimhen to Arsenal

Chelsea have generally been viewed as Osimhen’s prime suitors, with current striker Nicolas Jackson not quite at the required standard. Plus, the Serie A star is known to be a fan of Chelsea due to his love for Didier Drogba.

But according to Italian source Calcio Napoli (as cited by Sport Witness), Chelsea are no longer leading the race for Osimhen. Instead, it is Arsenal who have moved into pole position for his capture.

Madrid are also mentioned as being interested in the 24-year-old, as he is a backup option in case they miss out on Kylian Mbappe. But just like Chelsea, Madrid will have to overcome Arsenal if they are to land Osimhen.

The report does little to explain how Arteta’s side have put themselves at the front of the queue for what would be a monumental deal. But it does provide some insight into what Osimhen’s agent – Roberto Calenda – is thinking about the situation.

It is claimed that Napoli recently contacted Calenda to try and begin talks over a new contract for Osimhen, whose current deal expires in June 2025. However, the representative has no intention of sitting down with Napoli, which suggests he wants a top transfer for his client.

Osimhen moving to the Emirates will ultimately depend on Arsenal’s financial capabilities. Having spent big money on the likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz in the summer, the North London side may struggle to pay the £100m-plus fee needed to land Osimhen this winter.

But if the deadly attacker remains at Napoli until the end of the season, then it is likely Arsenal will be one of the main clubs to open negotiations for him. After all, this will give them more time to save up and re-organise their finances ahead of a huge outlay.

Meanwhile, Arteta has discussed the future of Aaron Ramsdale, with the Arsenal goalkeeper recently emerging as a target for Newcastle United.