Premier League • England

Fabrizio Romano backtracks on ‘close’ Arsenal transfer claim, with Everton veteran now eyed in clever double coup

Arsenal defenders Cedric Soares and Takehiro Tomiyasu

Claims an Arsenal star is close to being sold to a London rival have been clarified by Fabrizio Romano, who’s also confirmed an Everton player is now being targeted.

One of this season’s surprise packages has undoubtedly been Marco Silva’s Fulham. The Cottagers have been the epitome of a yo-yo club of late, either earning promotion from the Championship or being relegated from the Premier League in each of their past five seasons.

However, if their start this campaign is anything to go by, Fulham look determined to end that trend.

Silva’s side currently sit ninth in the table ahead of the Premier League’s return on Boxing Day. But to ensure they can maintain their bright start, Fulham are on the hunt for January signings who can make an instant impact.

talkSPORT recently reported a move for Arsenal right-back Cedric Soares was rounding in to shape. A permanent deal is on the agenda with the 31-year-old down to third in Arteta’s pecking order at right-back.

Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu are both ahead of the Portuguese veteran and talkSPORT reported Arsenal have determined Cedric can leave.

Their transfer chief, Alex Crook, later tweeted a deal was “close” on December 20. However, Fabrizio Romano has backtracked on any claims the deal is advanced.

Indeed, Romano acknowledged Cedric is ‘in Marco Silva’s list’, though stressed ‘it’s not advanced yet with Arsenal’.

If Fulham are able to ramp up their pursuit, Cedric would likely compete with Kenny Tete for a starting berth.

Summer recruit Kevin Mbabu has rarely got a look-in, resulting in Silva deploying winger Bobby Reid out of position during Tete’s injury absences.

While neither talkSPORT or Romano detailed the type of fees that could be involved, a report from Italy has done. named Fulham as a primary candidate to sign Cedric when detailing Roma’s interest earlier this week. They claimed Arsenal will only seek a modest sum of €4m-€5m for Cedric,

Fulham want Everton veteran too

talkSPORT’s report noted Silva wants a central midfielder too. Clearly, the Cottagers boss is determined to double down on his side’s good start and the age of their newest transfer target suggests he wants experience.

Everton’s Abdoulaye Doucoure was named by Romano as catching Fulham’s eye. The 29-year-old has long been a dependable performer in the engine room and has six-and-a-half-years of English top flight experience through his spells at Watford and Everton.

Doucoure was a £20m signing for the Toffees back in the summer of 2020. No valuation is cited by Romano, but now 29, logic would dictate his price has fallen.

What’s more, the ex-Hornet has fallen down the pecking order at Goodison Park this season, thus suggesting Frank Lampard might be open to green-lighting a sale. Doucoure hasn’t started a league match since recovering from a hamstring injury in mid-September.

Romano tweeted Fulham are ‘interested in Doucoure’ who is on their list of targets next month.

Any transfer is deemed to be in its ‘early stages’ at present. Romano concluded Fulham’s hopes will depend on whether Everton do decide to cash in.

Sky Sports have also reported on Fulham’s interest in Doucoure. Silva previously managed the midfielder during their time at Watford.

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