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Youri Tielemans - What Is Stopping Arsenal From Signing The Belgian?

Patrick Ribeiro

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Youri Tielemans - What Is Stopping Arsenal From Signing The Belgian?

It was with a great deal of promise and optimism that Arsenal looked towards this summer’s transfer window as they set out to better last season’s fifth-placed Premier League finish, leaving the Gunners on the brink of Champions League qualification.

Mikel Arteta’s side have moved quickly to strengthen where possible with the arrivals of Gabriel Jesus, FC Porto’s Fabio Vieira, New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner and the promising Marquinhos all beefing up the squad.

One name who seemed like a certainty to be amongst the new faces was Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, but after a good couple of months since the links between both parties were drawn, the Belgian remains none the wiser with regards to his immediate future.

With the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season fast approaching, we explore the potential reasons diverting interest away from the completion of Tielemans’ rumoured switch to the Emirates Stadium.

No longer the priority

The manner in which the Tielemans links were served towards the end of last season was that the midfielder was being looked at as a key target by the Arsenal hierarchy.

As the days have ticked on, however, it has become more and more apparent that this is simply not the case, with the Gunners being associated with more and more options in midfield.

Since the original links, the North Londoners have had Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Brazil international Lucas Paquetá placed on the agenda, meanwhile the imminent Oleksandr Zinchenko arrival could also contend against the addition of an extra body in the middle of the park.

The words of Belgian football journalist Sacha Tavolieri, said to have close links to the Tielemans camp, verify Arsenal’s stance of holding an interest in alternative targets.

Speaking to The Gooner Talk, Tavolieri revealed: “[Arsenal] have a target in midfield that is not Tielemans.

“Tielemans is seen as a good opportunity, but to Arsenal, they are saying: ‘Okay, he has one year on his contract left. We have the time."

“‘We can go for him on the 10th or the 15th August. Let’s go to our main priority [first]. If this doesn’t happen, we have time to go for Tielemans.’”

Using time to drive the asking price down

As the club remain tight-lipped on their intentions in the market, it may be that Arsenal are also playing the long game with Leicester ahead of a potential move for the deep-lying playmaker.

The 25-year-old, as mentioned, has just one year left on his current deal with the Foxes and has shown little desire to renew with the 2015/16 Premier League champions.

Tielemans is back in training and his own manager, Brendan Rodgers, has made no secret over the potential to part ways.

"He's happy in his work and he's happy at the club. But, naturally, with a year in his contract he may feel he has to look at everything for him and his family.”

Apart from Manchester United, themselves invested in the chase of other midfield options, Arsenal appear to be somewhat alone in the race for Tielemans.

The Gunners can take a great deal of comfort from this and the fact that the player’s contract is due to expire in the summer of 2023, depreciating the player’s value with each passing month.

The fact Leicester are yet to sign anyone could also be very telling of a situation that’s potentially playing into Arsenal’s hands.

As the pressures grow at the King Power late into the window, it could be at this point that Edu Gaspar and co. wish to enter the scene, forcing the Foxes into submission over a deal on their terms.

Lack of sales

Of course, the prospect of the issue drawing inwards on Arsenal cannot be discarded too, as they themselves struggle to rake in funds for players considered surplus to requirements.

As of right now, the exits have been limited to Alexandre Lacazette’s free transfer to Olympique Lyonnais and the anticipated sales of Mattéo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanous, previously out on loan.

With little more than a month to go until the window’s closure, the North Londoners have a large number of players still braced for the exits, retaining crucial funds that could move the project forwards.

The likes of Fulham and Real Betis, among others, will be using this wisely against Arsenal, particularly as the window begins to draw to a close.

For the Gunners, they’ll be torn between standing their ground, or succumbing to their desperation to get names off their books.

The Tielemans saga then becomes about deciphering just how much of a priority he is to Arteta’s project, as they seek to distribute the funds and focus accordingly.

At face value, the Belgian midfielder’s transfer may appear far easier to conclude than some of Arsenal’s other targets, which ironically works against its completion in the club’s bid to solve some of the more complicated deals at hand first.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Youri Tielemans, Leicester City, Transfers

Patrick Ribeiro
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