Bit-part duo the bait as Arsenal look to lure Argentine playmaker

Emi Buendia

Arsenal have reportedly contacted Norwich to offer them their pick of two squad stars as makeweights in a Gunners approach for impressive playmaker Emiliano Buendia.

The Gunners are looking to add more creativity to their ranks after deciding Mesut Ozil’s future lies elsewhere. That said, Emile Smith Rowe’s emergence in recent matches had reportedly prompted a change of heart from Mikel Arteta.

However, The Independent claims Arteta and technical director Edu remain very much keen on Norwich star Buendia.

Buendia caught the eye last season as Norwich suffered relegation from the Premier League.

The Argentine was one of the league’s top chances creators – and it’s thought he’s very much wanted by Arsenal.

Leeds, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa were been linked with the 23-year-old this summer. And while Norwich were willing to sell Buendia, he ended up staying after their valuation wasn’t met.

The Canaries were said to placed a £20m fee on Buendia’s head in the summer. That price may have risen, however, given Buendia’s impressive form in the Championship.

The player struck his seventh of the season on Saturday as Barnsley were beaten 1-0 at Carrow Road.

That led to Daniel Farke addressing speculation over his future.

“Emi is a key player for us, an important member of the group, and he is totally committed to us,” said Farke. “He is our player and will continue to be our player. He is on a long-term contract so we keep him.

“Everyone knows his qualities – I don’t expect interest just because he scored a wondergoal today. People know what he can do.”

The Independent though claims Arsenal have watched Buendia closely in recent weeks and are now readying a firm bid.

The paper claims the Gunners will offer the Championship promotion hopefuls their choice of two players to sweeten the deal. As per the article, the Canaries will be offered either Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock. The pair have both featured for Arsenal this season, but have dropped out the reckoning in recent weeks.

It’s reported talks have already been held with Buendia’s agent to ascertain what sort of package the player would require.

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Buendia open to Norwich exit

Buendia admitted before the summer window shut that he was open to a move away from Carrow Road.

He told the PA news agency: “From the first day I have been happy with the relationship with them. They understand my situation and they know my dream is to be in a Premier League team.

Emiliano Buendia

“I’m still here, I will fight for the team but if a very good offer for me arrives they are open. We’ll decide what’s best for everyone.

“Me and my family have loved the city since we arrived but I want to play in the best league in the world and would like to stay in a Premier League team.”

Buendia, who cost an initial £1.3million from Getafe two years ago, is happy to stay at Norwich and is settled in Norfolk with a young family. While he is flattered by speculation linking him with a move from Carrow Road it will not distract him.

“Until the day I leave the club I will fight for them. I’m thinking about playing well and helping the team. My head is here.”

Buendia is contracted to Norwich until 2024.

READ MORE: Details of transfer emerge as Saliba poised to return to France