Premier League • England

Arsenal warned £21.5m sale of star could cost them Premier League title as Merson makes big Aston Villa claim

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson and Arsenal defender and Jakub Kiwior

Paul Merson and Jakub Kiwior

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been warned he will be making a serious mistake cashing in on Jakub Kiwior in January amid reports a £21.5m deal for the Poland defender is close to being agreed.

The Gunners paid £20m to bring Kiwior to Emirates Stadium in a deal worth around £20m last January in a bid to solidify their squad for the title run-in. But while Arsenal ultimately ended up finishing second to Manchester City, Kiwior has since gone on to prove himself as a useful member of the squad.

Indeed, he has gone on to make 19 appearances for the club, including 11 in all competitions so far this season.

And while not a guaranteed starter, with Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba firmly established as first-choice defenders, Kiwior has offered cover for the duo and also at left-back for Oleksandr Zinchenko whenever required.

So far this season, Kiwior has started three Premier League games, while featuring in three more off the bench.

As a result, it comes as a big surprise that Arsenal are now considering the sale of the 19-times capped star with both Roma and AC Milan linked with his signature in recent weeks.

And reports in Italy claim Arteta will not stand in the player’s way if he wants to leave, amid claims Milan are firming up that interest and are ready to meet Arsenal’s €25m (£21.5m) asking price for the defender.

But that stance comes as something of a surprise given Arsenal’s lack of cover, with Jurrien Timber facing a long road back from an ACL tear and Takehiro Tomiyasu currently on the sidelines and seemingly very injury prone.

READ MORE ~ The Premier League injury table: Gunners currently without five senior stars

Arsenal warned Kiwior sale could cost them Premier League title

Providing an update on the situation, journalist Ben Jacobs reckons there is quite a strong chance Kiwior is allowed to move on after just one year.

However, with any money Arsenal spend likely to be targeted on a new midfielder in January, the CBS journalist has suggested, in an interview with GIVEMESPORT that Kiwior’s sale could ultimately cost them the Premier League title.

“I don’t think so. I think the obligation to buy means that the player is effectively gone and Kiwior is still new to Arsenal,” he said over claims that a deal with AC Milan was being discussed for Kiwior.

“When he’s been called on, I think he’s shown that he can be a very useful squad player,” Jacobs added. “And the last thing Arsenal want to do in any position is lose depth. Because they spent a lot of money in the summer, they may therefore not have a lot of money as far as January is concerned.

“And if you lose a player that you don’t really want to go, then you have to add to your squad potentially and if Arsenal are thin, then it could again cost them the Premier League.”

Ben White can, of course, also provide cover at centre-half if needed, but Jacobs makes a fair point about hiw Arsenal’s lack of depth could be exposed if they are to lose the Pole.

Paul Merson makes Aston Villa title prediction

With Manchester City winless in four matches, Arsenal have been able to establish a two-point lead at the top of the table, with Liverpol in second and Aston Villa the surprise package sat a further two points back in third.

Many observers now rate Arsenal as title favourites with that six-point buffer over reigning champions City potentially proving significant.

Former Gunners boss Unai Emery has undoubtedly done a tremendous job in charge, and that makes Saturday’s encounter between the sides the stand-out match this weekend.

Now Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson reckons Villa will need to be considered as title contenders themselves if they are able to beat Arsenal in the Saturday evening encounter at Villa Park.

“This is a massive football match. It could have such a big impact on the Premier League title race,” he said.

“If Aston Villa can go and back up their win over Man City and beat Arsenal, defeating the winners and runners-up from last season in four days, you have to give them a chance.

“I know their form away from home isn’t great but when you have an unbelievable record like they have at Villa Park, if you can sort out your performances on the road you will win the league.

“A defeat is not the end of the world either. You’d still say they are one of the favourites for the top four, but a win and you have to put them in the mix for the title.

“On the other hand, this is also a huge test for Arsenal. It’s a massive game for them. If they can go and get a win at Villa Park and end the unbelievable home record, you will have to put Arsenal as the No 1 favourite for the Premier League.”

Merson, however, does believe Arsenal can edge a win, concluding: “I worry for Villa in this game. It could just be a game too far. A lot of work went into that win over Manchester City. Arsenal also have an extra day’s rest and that makes a huge difference.”

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