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Premier League • England

Arsenal powerless to resist transfer despite Newcastle raid cost rising

Arsenal loanee Konstantin Mavropanos celebrating while on loan at Stuttgart

Arsenal can only watch on as Stuttgart prepare to reap the rewards for a Gunners player fast emerging as a transfer target for Newcastle, per a report.

Arsenal’s defence has taken a giant leap forward this season. The summer arrivals of Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have reshaped Mikel Arteta’s backline. Additionally, Nuno Tavares has provided stiff competition for Kieran Tierney at left-back.

With Arsenal’s rearguard moving in the right direction, there will likely be no future at the club for Konstantinos Mavropanos.

The Greek centre-back was signed in 2018, though subsequent loan spells indicated he had never made an impression on his managers.

However, while on loan at Stuttgart over the last two seasons, Mavropanos has found his feet and has even developed a penchant for scoring goals. He has plundered five goals in 17 matches across all competitions this season.

However, any hope of seeing that form at the Emirates was extinguished last week. German newspaper Bild revealed  Stuttgart had a €3m option inserted into Mavropanos’ loan deal. The article stated ‘it is certain’ it will be triggered.

Mavropanos value keeps rising

But once his permanent switch is sealed, Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund want to snatch him away with all haste.

His current value was listed at €25m, but the latest from Sport Witness suggests his stellar form has seen it rise even further.

Per Bild, Stuttgart will now seek ‘at least €30m’ for the centre-back in a quick turnaround that could net them a tidy €27m profit.

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Arsenal are seemingly powerless to prevent Stuttgart from triggering the €3m option. As such, they could lose a player for a tenth of what he’ll be sold on for in the same window.

Newcastle are understood to be seeking defensive reinforcements in January as they seek to avoid the drop. For Mavropanos, however, they may have to wait until the summer.


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Merson expects Arsenal transfer at huge loss

Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Paul Merson reckons the Gunners will take a big hit if they sell Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window.

The winger arrived at the Emirates in August 2019 for a club-record £72million. He has shown glimpses of his talent but has never performed on a consistent basis for the three-time Premier League champions.

Pepe did get a chance in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over Sunderland. He certainly took it, bagging a goal and two assists as Arsenal ran out 5-1 winners at home.

But a January exit is still on the cards as manager Mikel Arteta plans an attacking overhaul. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could also leave, although that is more likely to take place in the summer.

On Pepe, Merson said (via Daily Mail): “I think if they could sell him in January, they’d probably sell him.

“Managers would lose their jobs on a big signing, that doesn’t happen anymore.

“They’ll probably sell him for £20m-£30m and lose £30m-£40m on him, and no one will say a dickie bird.”

READ MORE: Arsenal star emerges in rival’s crosshairs with Arteta mulling January sale