Premier League • England

Rival full-back star remains in Arsenal thoughts despite Timber announcement ‘in coming days’

Joao Cancelo, Diogo Dalot, Portugal, September 2022

Fabrizio Romano has detailed how Arsenal have “always monitored” Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Henrichs, despite nearing the signing of Jurrien Timber.

It looks as if this summer will be a particularly busy one for the Gunners. They’ve already signed Kai Havertz in a £65million deal from Chelsea.

Declan Rice was their big target ahead of the window, and his deal has been agreed, with the signing soon to be formalised.

More additions beyond that have been mooted. That of Southampton midfielder Lavia is one to look out for, with insider Ben Jacobs suggesting he “can see” the deal happening, if Thomas Partey is to leave.

That the midfielder may up sticks is a genuine possibility. Indeed, he’s reportedly informed the club of his desire to head out this summer.

It seems incomings and outgoings are set to continue, and that’s no surprise, with Mikel Arteta looking to ensure his side compete for the title right until the end of the season, after letting their lead slip at the back end last term.

One reason for that was injuries in the defence, and a lack of depth. When William Saliba got injured at the back end, Ben White could have moved to the centre, but with back-up right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu also injured, he had to stay on the right, weakening the centre of the defence.

Arteta seems to have taken that into consideration, as Arsenal have agreed to sign Ajax defender Timber, who can play as both a right-back and a centre-back.

Arsenal still thinking about Cancelo

Transfer insider Romano has confirmed that Timber’s addition is for that very reason: to cover both positions.

“But, at the moment, I think with Timber, their idea is to cover the right-back and centre-back positions. He’s a very versatile player that Mikel Arteta loves to have in the squad. So, this is the idea,” he told GIVEMESPORT.

Arsenal had been interested in both Man City full-back Cancelo and RB Leipzig right-back Henrichs.

It seems that interest was maintained by the club even when negotiations with Timber were ongoing.

“Arsenal have always monitored them [Cancelo and Henrichs]. We always mentioned Cancelo as a player appreciated by Arsenal,” Romano added.

Timber deal confirmed ‘in coming days’

However, with Timber soon to be confirmed as a new Arsenal player, it seems unlikely that they’d want either of the other players, perhaps only keeping them in their thoughts in case anything fell through.

Romano has reiterated that everything is done with the Timber deal, and it’ll be confirmed ‘in the coming days’.

He certainly seems a useful addition, given he can play both at centre-back and right-back.

While Cancelo offers versatility in being able to play on the right and the left, the crucial element for Arsenal seems to be the defensive solidity, which Timber will likely bring more of.

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