A prominent pair of Arsenal first-teamers were offered to Atletico Madrid as part of a swap deal for Thomas Partey, according to reports.
The Gunners have long been admirers of the Ghana international, with his tenacity and bite in midfield seen as a necessary ingredient as the club continue to bounce back under Mikel Arteta.
The 27-year-old has a £45m release clause with the Spanish side, but Arsenal have thus far opted not to meet the figure directly.
Instead, while operating with a restricted budget, Arteta has attempted to get creative with several swap deals proposed.
Now, according to The Metro (who cite reliable journalist Fabrizio Romano), the identities of two prominent first-teamers have been revealed as potential bait in their failed deals.
“It was during the meeting they had for Thomas, the first time it was in July.”
Regarding the Gunners pair, £46.5m striker Alexandre Lacazette is the most eye-catching name.
The second player was out of favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.
The 21-year-old had been making stellar progress with The Gunners. However, disciplinary problems after a heated clash with Brighton saw him fall out of Arteta’s plans.
“They spoke about Matteo Guendouzi and they spoke also about Lacazette, but at the moment, Atletico Madrid was not going for Lacazette,” Romano said.
Newcastle closing in on Arsenal defender
Meanwhile, Newcastle are close to bolstering their defence with two new signings, with a £13.75m bid for Jamal Lewis accepted by Norwich and an Arsenal man set to soon follow.
The Athletic is now reporting that Norwich have accepted a bid from Newcastle of £13.75million. That deal will rise ‘significantly’ depending on performance-related add-ons.
Furthermore, The Magpies are also closing in on the signing of Rob Holding on a season-long loan from Arsenal.
Holding is slipping down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium, having only managed eight Premier League appearances last season. It was the lowest league appearance tally of his four years at Arsenal.
With Arsenal hoping to sign Gabriel Magalhaes, there will soon be even more competition for places in their defence. And that means Holding will have to look elsewhere for regular football.