Premier League • England

Arsenal ‘bid’ prompts immediate change in stance over Romanian starlet

Ianis Stoica Romania 2021 TEAMtalk1

Arsenal have reportedly firmed up their interest in Romanian wonderkid Ianis Stoica and submitted a bid for the in-demand teenager.

The 18-year-old has caught the eye with a number of outstanding displays for Liga I outfit FCSB this season. The attacking midfielder has bagged six goals from 14 appearances in all competitions for Roș-albaștrii. He has also registered two assists to help his side sit second behind CFR Cluj in the Romanian top flight.

A report from Playsport earlier this week suggested the Gunners were keen on the youngster. The club’s owner, Gigi Becali, is a big fan of the Romania Under-21 ace. And he has no intention of selling Stoica.

“It is good that Arsenal are monitoring Ianis, but there is no point as he is not for sale,” he said. “He could be in a year or two, but not yet. He is technically skilled, physically strong and very smart.

“To look at him, you’d think he is 23 years old – not 18.”

However, money talks in football and Becali has suggested a slight increase in the offer may prompt a sale.

“I currently have [an offer of] €7.5million for Ianis Stoica,” Becali told “And I want €10m plus 20% [from a future transfer],” he said before confirming Arsenal had made the bid.

Other clubs have already been mentioned in connection with the Bucharest-born star. Italian outfit Bologna and Turkish Galatasaray are known suitors.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to battle for Alexandre Lacazette

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However when word gets around of his skills, bigger clubs are certain to enter the picture.

Stoica in Pepe out at Arsenal

Stoica may represent the future at the Emirates if Mikel Arteta can get his man. But one man whose days in north London may be numbered is Nicolas Pepe.

The 26-year-old has made only five league starts this term and The Sun suggest that ‘time is running out’ for the Ivorian. That is despite Arteta backing the player on Friday.

“Nico has very specific qualities and when he can put them in place they’re magnificent,” he told reporters. “But we have talked about consistency and he needs to do what he is doing and even raise his level. That is what we want to make the team better.

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“He is training well but sometimes the coach makes a decision based on other qualities that are necessary in the game plan for the day and has to choose between two or three players.”

Arsenal forwards Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette

Asked if there would be any thought of entertaining offers in January he added: “No – and it’s not the moment to talk about that either.”

READ MORE: Tottenham, Arsenal alerted to major price drop as new striker plan emerges