Curious reason stated why Leicester have pipped Arsenal to smart pick-up

Date published: Thursday 24th June 2021 12:09 - Steve Pearson

Mikel Arteta in duscussion with Kieran Tierney, Arsenal, February 2021

Leicester have reportedly beaten Arsenal to a free agent acquisition, and a strange reason why the Gunners lost out has been cited.

Arsenal are in the midst of a squad overhaul as they seek to bounce back from a torrid season. Midfield appears to be the area that is expected to see the most change after a trio of unwanted stars are reported to be nearing exits. However, another position that could see turnover is left-back.


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Granit Xhaka and Cedric Soares were both played out of position at times last season. Kieran Tierney is the club’s undisputed No. 1 in the position, though has struggled with injury issues.

Rising youngster Bukayo Saka is also capable of deputising, though his talents are best utilised further forward.

As such, Arsenal were persistently linked with the smart free agent signing of Ryan Bertrand.

The 31-year-old has been a dependable performer with Southampton since arriving on a permanent deal from Chelsea 2014.

However, a new contract could not be agreed last year. That left the ex-England left-back searching for a new club this summer.

Leicester and Arsenal were both touted to be in the mix. In the Foxes’ case, Bertrand would provide an experienced head for youngsters James Justin and Luke Thomas to learn from.

Timothy Castagne was the headline signing brought in to replace Ben Chilwell last summer. However, the Belgian is thought to be a long-term absentee after suffering a double eye socket fracture at Euro 2020.

Now, per Goal, Leicester have reportedly won the race after the player himself ‘chose’ Leicester.

The article goes on to state one reason why Arsenal’s pursuit fell away was their reluctance to ‘block the development of Kieran Tierney.’

Many clubs aim to foster strong competition for each position, though in this case, that was not Arsenal’s plan.

Instead, they will ‘continue to seek a back-up option’ that will seemingly be content with a bench role and not challenge Tierney.

Other free agents and ‘younger options’ are said to now be in mind.

Grealish wowed by Arsenal ace Saka

Bukayo Saka; Gareth Southgate England TEAMtalk

Meanwhile, Jack Grealish says he was not surprised by Bukayo Saka’s impact for England at Wembley on Tuesday night.

Grealish was one of three changes for the 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, with Harry Maguire and Saka also included.

It was Saka who caught the eye, being named star of the match by UEFA as he made his first appearance of the finals. The youngster had a huge hand in the winning goal, along with Grealish.

And the Villa talisman says Saka has been lighting up training, and explained precisely what he’s training from the Gunner that has wowed him so much.

READ MORE: Arsenal nearing £40m windfall as Arteta begins clear-out with unwanted trio

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