Premier League • England

Arsenal complete first summer transfer, with Serie A deal likely to spark blockbuster second move

Monza centre-back Pablo Mari and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku

A first transfer of the summer has crossed the line at Arsenal and the Serie A deal is likely to prompt a much bigger move in the near future, per a report.

Who leaves the Emirates this summer is shaping up to be just as intriguing as who arrives. Man City are believed to be ‘actively’ pursuing back-up left-back, Kieran Tierney.

Elsewhere, Folarin Balogun is scoring goals for fun while out on loan at Reims. However, with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah blocking his path to minutes back in north London, the Times claimed Arsenal will reluctantly ‘listen to offers’.

Even more surprising than a Balogun exit would be the departure of veteran midfielder, Granit Xhaka. Yet according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal will weigh up selling the 30-year-old if suitable offers are lodged.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles will leave as a free agent and recently told the Athletic he’d love to join Southampton outright. Maitland-Niles is currently on loan with the Saints, though a permanent move will likely hinge on whether they beat the drop.

But before any of the aforementioned moves can take place, the Mirror bring news of a different Arsenal exit crossing the line.

The newspaper state in lieu of last weekend’s results in Serie A, centre-back Pablo Mari has now joined Monza on a permanent deal.

The 29-year-old is on loan at Monza and his deal reportedly contains an obligation to buy. The clause would be triggered if Monza avoid relegation and a 2-0 victory over Spezia on Friday – combined with other results going their way over the weekend – has put Monza mathematically safe with six games to spare.

As such, Mari has reportedly joined the Italian outfit in a permanent deal worth €7m (approx. £6.15m).

Mari has been a near ever present for Monza this term, with his only absences coming through injury.

He missed four matches in the autumn through injuries sustained in a shock supermarket attack. Mari was stabbed in the incident in which five others were injured and one person tragically lost their life.

Arsenal gunning for centre-back signing

A lack of reliable centre-back has cost Arsenal dear in recent weeks. William Saliba has not featured for the Gunners since picking up a back injury in the Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon on March 16.

The Gunners haven’t kept a single clean sheet in the ensuing six matches in which Rob Holding has deputised at centre-half. Arenal have shipped 13 goals over that stretch and dropped points in four of the six matches.

With a return to the Champions League already secured for next season, Arsenal cannot afford to be so vulnerable in such a crucial position.

As such, Fabrizio Romano recently reported Real Sociedad’s Robin Le Normand is being scouted.

Elsewhere, Football Insider put the Gunners in the frame for Crystal Palace ace, Marc Guehi.

Le Normand holds a release clause in his current contract worth €50m. Guehi is understood to be valued around the £45m mark just two years after his £18m switch from Chelsea.

READ MORE: Arteta urges Arsenal to make ‘official approach’ for top target with face-to-face talks scheduled