Premier League • England

Arsenal agree lengthy deal with ‘first summer signing’ as Romano reveals Fulham fancy Gunners duo

A close-up shot of Mikel Arteta with a prominent Arsenal badge alongside him

Mikel Arteta is making Arsenal plans ahead of the summer window

Arsenal will wrap up the permanent signing of David Raya in a matter of days, Fabrizio Romano has confirmed, while three possible exits – including two stars who could be on the move to Fulham – is also on the cards.

The Gunners raised eyebrows last summer when they brought in the Spanish shot-stopper on a season-long loan that set them back £3m – and with it securing an option to make his signing a permanent £27m deal the following summer. Initially Raya had to wait for his chance, with Mikel Arteta initially suggesting he would share the Arsenal goalkeeper responsibilities with Aaron Ramsdale.

However, once Raya replaced Ramsdale between the sticks in a 1-0 win over Everton in mid-September the dye at Arsenal had been cast, with the 28-year-old very quickly establishing himself as first choice.

The deal, though, proved something of a masterstroke. Raya not only helped the Gunners close the gap further on Manchester City as the title race went down to the last day, he also claimed the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets with 16 in total arriving from his 32 appearances.

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And while Ramsdale has been left kicking his heels on the sidelines and now looks a strong candidate to leave this summer – Liverpool have surprisingly been touted as candidates for his signature – it is a different story for Raya as Arteta looks primed to push through his permanent signing in a matter of days.

The Gunners are keen on signing up to three new players this summer with a left-sided defender, a midfield partner for Declan Rice and a quality No 9 all on their transfer radars.

Arsenal to push through £27m Raya signing

However, as Romano has confirmed a move for Raya will soon be done with the four-times capped Spain international poised to sign a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium.

Sources close to TEAMtalk expect Raya to sign a deal through to summer 2028, with the option of another year, and as Romano confirms to CaughtOffside, Arteta will be delighted to get that “first summer signing” over the line.

“In the next few days Arsenal will proceed with their first signing of the summer with the permanent transfer of David Raya,” Romano began.

“The goalkeeper joined Arsenal on loan from Brentford last summer, with a buy option, but there was already a pact between Arsenal and Brentford for Raya to make the move permanent in summer 2024. Arsenal will respect that pact by triggering the buy option of £27m.

“Mikel Arteta is super happy and wanted Raya to stay, so now Arsenal are ready to make his loan move into a permanent deal. And, as previously mentioned, Aaron Ramsdale is expected to leave the club this summer for sure – they want to find a solution for him as Raya is now the clear number one for Arteta.”

The Gunners are ready to get active this summer with sources close to TEAMtalk confirming the Gunners are very much keen on both Martin Zubimendi and Benjamin Sesko, having identified the pair as primary summer targets.

However, Arsenal face a fierce battle with Chelsea for the RB Leipzig striker, with TEAMtalk revealing the Blues have launched a firm offer of their own to win the transfer race for the Slovenian star.

Triple Arsenal exit takes shape as Fulham eye duo

Sesko’s exit clause is set at €65m, while it would cost another €60m to land Zubimendi. That potential €125m double outlay, on top of the costs of signing Raya on a permanent deal too, means Arsenal will likely need to offload some of their unwanted stars to help keep them in line with FFP limits.

To that end, Romano has also revealed a possible triple exit is also on the cards, with AC Milan resurrecting their interest in Jakub Kiwior and with Fulham also keen on a double raid on Arsenal for both Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe.

With TEAMtalk also breaking the news in March that Nketiah would be allowed to leave this summer, Romano has now confirmed the Cottagers are one of those options.

“After seeing Emile Smith Rowe linked with Fulham, and I told you here that he’s been discussed internally, there is now also talk of Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah being another target for Fulham this summer,” he added.

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“For now my information is that Fulham are considering to bring in several players this summer, including a new centre-back, a quality midfield player like Smith-Rowe and potentially new striker with Armando Broja leaving after his loan from Chelsea. With Nketiah, it’s not something advanced so far but Fulham are exploring the market.

“Jakub Kiwior to AC Milan stories are also back again. The Polish defender has always been appreciated by AC Milan, as he was on their list also in January, but at the moment Milan have not approached Arsenal yet. They have different priorities including a new right-back and a new striker. For the centre-back, we will see later in the window. Arsenal could sell Kiwior this summer, but only for an important proposal.”