Arsenal have lost ground in the race with Aston Villa to sign a £40m-rated playmaker after the financial machinations of a potential transfer were revealed.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a strong summer as they seek to bounce back from a woeful campaign. The club will be without European football next season for the first time since 1996. However, hopes are high that the reduced schedule could in fact bolster their hopes of making a top four run.
To do so, Arsenal will first need to navigate the treacherous waters of the upcoming transfer window.
A number of key areas could see upheaval as Mikel Arteta seeks to reshape the squad in his image.
One such position almost guaranteed to see change is attacking midfield.
Martin Odegaard impressed after arriving on loan from Real Madrid in January. He, along with Emile Smith Rowe helped Arsenal gain a measure of respectability by racking up five successive league wins to finish the season in eighth.
Odegaard has since returned to the Spanish capital, though a recent report detailed Arteta’s strong desire to bring him aboard on a permanent basis.
One such alternative the Gunners had been linked with was Norwich creative force, Emiliano Buendia.
The 24-year-old Argentine is fresh off a truly superb campaign that helped spearhead the Canaries back to the Premier League. In 39 league outings last season, Buendia notched 15 goals and 17 assists as he took his game to another level.
Both Arsenal and Aston Villa have been credited with interest. But the latest report from Football Insider has painted a bleak picture for the Gunners.
With Arteta’s focus firmly on Odegaard, the publication reveal Villa are ‘confident they have edged ahead of Arsenal’ in the hunt.
Progress since the season concluded is said to have been made. In further good news, the financial make-up of such a deal may be more buyer-friendly than first thought…
Up-front fee ‘considerably less’ than £40m
News broke at the weekend of Dean Smith’s audacious summer spending plan. £120m was earmarked for three players including Buendia to take Villa to new heights.
One way in which those plans may be made more viable is through deferring payments for Buendia.
The Football Insider article reveals that is exactly what could happen. The up-front fee for the £40m-rated Buendia will reportedly be ‘considerably less than that sum.’
Convincing Norwich to lower their overall valuation of the midfielder will prove trickier, however. The Canaries are deemed to be unwilling to budge from their ultimate £40m asking price.