At one point it was Roma, the next AC Milan and then Crystal Palace. But in the end it was Bournemouth who won the race to sign Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season.
The England midfielder, omitted earlier this week from Sam Allardyce's squad for Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, was told he needed regular game time and that led to the 24-year-old plumping for the south coast club in a move that surprised many.
While some questioned the wisdom of joining the Cherries, former Arsenal midfielder turned Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson declared it an intelligent decision on the part of Wilshere. "I think it's a great move for both," Merson said. "Bournemouth are getting a £30m player for pretty much nothing for one season, so credit to Bournemouth, to the players and to the staff."
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Asked why Wilshere chose Bournemouth above the likes of Roma and AC MIlan, Merson replied: "Arsene Wenger has probably said to Wilshere, 'Go down to Bournemouth, they play good football, they get the ball on the floor, they'll go through you'... he's probably been doubting himself with his confidence having been dropped by England and I just think the lad needs to get playing."
Bournemouth were certainly cock-a-hoop with the signing, with chief executive Neil Blake telling Sky: "Jack is a fantastic addition to the club. He is a player that needs no introduction and one that, quite rightly, our supporters will be excited to see in a Bournemouth shirt. He will bring a wealth of international and Premier League experience, so we are delighted."
Also leaving the Emirates on Deadline Day was Serge Gnabry with ESPN reporting that the Germany Under-21 winger has signed for Werder Bremen "for a reported fee of £5m". Gnabry broke into the Gunners first-team squad two years ago, having arrived as a 16-year-old, but has never been given an extended run in the side. "I'm very happy to be here," he told the Bremen website. "I had very good talks with the management and that has lead me here to Werder and the Bundesliga... I'm confident we'll have a successful season and push for the top half of the table."
Arsenal transfer news: Jack Wilshere to rebuild career at Bournemouth, shock Sturridge bid?
Bournemouth have won the race to sign Arsenal outcast Jack Wilshere on loan for the season.
The England midfielder reportedly asked for an exit after falling down the Emirates pecking order and losing his place in the England squad. It had been claimed that more than 20 clubs were interested in him, including Juventus.
In the end three clubs were involved in a shoot-out on Deadline Day, with Bournemouth seeing off Crystal Palace and Roma in Italy to land the injury-prone star.
Arsenal rejected the offer from Roma, reports The Guardian, which adds that "Palace were seeking to pay only a proportion of the player's £90,000-a-week wages" on account of his fitness problems - the midfielder has not played 90 minutes in the Premier League since September 2014, notes the paper.
However, Bournemouth can afford to meet the player's entire salary, making a move to the Vitality Stadium more appealing to Arsenal, explains the paper.
It also makes sense for Wilshere, says the Daily Mail, after manager Eddie Howe convinced him Bournemouth could offer him the "ideal platform to revitalise a career blighted by injury".
"The promise of a place at the heartbeat of a side looking to cement itself in the top-flight appeals to the Arsenal player," the Mail says. "So too, does the prospect of working with a bright, young English manager, seeking to establish his team as a Premier League staple."
Arsenal transfer news: Shock Sturridge move, Wilshere to Roma
Despite his reputation as a penny pincher, Arsene Wenger has a track record of making big signings in the final days of the transfer window - and there have been reports the Arsenal boss could be preparing for a dramatic Deadline Day swoop for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
The England forward has appeared unimpressed with life at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp and the Daily Mirror reports the odds on him making "a shock deadline day switch to Arsenal have tumbled".
Liverpool would not miss Sturridge, who is rarely first-choice striker at Anfield these days, and the fact the Reds have refused to sell Danny Ings could be telling.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are still in need of firepower, says the Mirror: "Arsene Wenger has bolstered his forward options with the acquisition of Lucas Perez, but could still be tempted by a late move for another striker to take the goal scoring burden away from the new man and Olivier Giroud.
"Danny Welbeck's injury means the Gunners are still short on recognised centre-forwards, with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott each having spells centrally to fill the void so far this season," it adds.
The source of the rumour, though, appears to be Ladbrokes, which reports it is offering 5-1 on "a decisive Deadline Day deal for Sturridge – who could well form an all-new Emirates strike partnership with Lucas Perez".
Few are convinced it will happen. "Liverpool are not expecting Arsenal to bid for Sturridge, and would not be willing to let the striker leave the club this summer under any circumstances, especially to move to a main league rival," says The Independent, although it puts the odds on a deal at less than 3-1.
However, rumours of Jack Wilshere's departure from the Emirates do appear to be founded in fact. The Sun reports Roma have "agreed terms" with the midfielder, who has fallen down the Arsenal pecking order and lost his place in the England squad.
Crystal Palace and Bournemouth are also in the hunt, the paper adds, but reports claims "Roma have now come to an agreement with Wilshere’s representatives and are awaiting approval from the Gunners".
Arsenal transfer news: Deadline Day exit for Jack Wilshere
It's increasingly looking like it's a case of farewell to the Emirates for a player once idolised by the Arsenal faithful.
As reported yesterday, Jack Wilshere is about to be farmed out by the Gunners and according to Talksport Besiktas are "working on a loan move" for the Arsenal midfielder. The Turkish outfit had been expected to tie up a deal for Samir Nasri but according to Sky Sports the podgy French playmaker has decided to join Sevilla.
That's left Besiktas in a bit of a fix, at least it did until they heard that Arsenal have tired of Wilshere's catalogue of injuries. Talksport claims that Wilshere is reluctant to move to Turkey and salvation might come in the shape of Roma with The Guardian claiming that the Italian club are mulling over whether they can afford the 24-year-old's £90,000-a-week wages.
But so keen is Arsene Wenger to jettison Wilshere that "there is a possibility that Arsenal could make a contribution to smooth his departure". The Sun also believes Wilshere is Italy-bound - though not for Roma. Rather the red-top namechecks AC Milan as the "favourites" to sign Wilshere, adding that they've already tabled a "loan offer with £30m option to buy".
But according to the Daily Mirror there have been "a staggering 22 offers from clubs" for Wilshere, and it's Crystal Palace "in pole position" to sign the England international with manager Alan Pardew having been in contact with Wilshere.
And another player on the brink of being loaned by Arsenal is Chuba Akpom. The 20-year-old striker has been relegated to the Under-23 side despite impressing for the senior squad during last month's tour to the USA, and the Evening Standard reports that Akpom wants to repeat his loan move to the Championship. Last season he played for Hull and it's believed he is considering offers from at least two clubs.
Arsenal confirmed the signing of Lucas Perez on Tuesday and the Deportivo star has been busy telling official club website about his versatility. "I played as a striker for most of my career but I can adapt to any of the four positions across the front line," explained Perez, who is Arsenal's fourth signing of the summer. "I prefer playing as a striker but I have no problem playing anywhere up front." And asked if he had a message for the Emirates faithful, Perez replied: "I’d like to say hello to the Arsenal fans and ask them to come out and support us. This is going to be a great season for us all and I’m sure Arsenal will give you plenty to celebrate."
Wenger said he had "had to work very hard" to land both Perez and Shkodran Mustafi in recent days, adding that "we have not got any plans for anyone else now."
Arsenal transfer news: Wilshere out, Mustafi and Perez in
Jack Wilshere could be on his way out of Arsenal with hours left before the transfer window shuts, reports The Sun, although whether he manages to leave without injuring himself remains to be seen.
The England flop has flattered to deceive for the past few seasons and it seems Arsene Wenger has finally realised what most Gooners grasped years ago - that the midfielder is unlikely to ever fulfil his potential because of his inability to remain injury free. Consequently, says the Sun, Wenger "will consider a loan move before the transfer window shuts on Wednesday night".
Wilshere is now sixth in Arsenal's midfield pecking order, behind Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and new signing Granit Xhaka, and the 24-year-old was also left out of the England squad announced by Sam Allardyce over the weekend. That's apparently prompted him to "demand" a loan move although it's not known if any club will want to take a punt on a player who's spent much of the last five years injured.
But as one player leaves others could be arriving. The Daily Telegraph is just one of several papers to declare that the Gunners will confirm today the signings of Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez for a combined fee of around £50m.
Such is Mustafi's excitement at joining Arsenal that the Valencia defender has been heaping praise of the club, explaining that German international team-mate Mesut Ozil helped convince him to make the move. "He told me everything I wanted to know," he gushed. "Everything was positive, so I was convinced very fast... I have always loved Arsenal, I like how they play here, it is not typical English."
The Daily Star says that Arsenal have paid Valencia £35m for Mustafi, while they've handed over half that figure to Deportivo in return for Perez. The 27-year-old hosted a press conference on Monday where he said goodbye to the fans and both Perez and Mustafi could make their Arsenal debuts on Saturday week after the international break.
One upshot of Mustafi's arrival, says the Sun, will be the departure on loan to Middlesbrough of Calum Chambers. The 21-year-old defender arrived at the Emirates two years ago as a typical Wenger purchase - young, versatile and unsure of his actual position.
After two years playing as a full-back, centre-back and in midfield, an increasingly confused Chambers has been unable to cement a regular starting place and the former Southampton blocker has now been farmed out for the season to newly-promoted Boro.
Arsenal transfer news: Perez to sign for £17m, Mustafi next
Did Arsene Wenger know what he was doing all along, or has the Arsenal manager caved in and pressed the panic button as the transfer window begins to creak shut?
Either way, the Gunners appear to be on the brink of two major signings that may or may not placate the increasingly irate fans.
First come reports that striker Lucas Perez is set to join Arsenal. Goal.com claims that the Deportivo La Coruna striker is arriving in London today. He'll bring with him representative Rodrigo Fernandes and the frontman is "expected to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms" ahead of his move to the Emirates.
Goal.com quotes a transfer fee of £17m, as does The Sun. At one point on Thursday the tabloid claimed the transfer was "being delayed because stingy Arsene Wenger wants to pay the £17m fee in two instalments", but it later changed its story to report that 28-year-old Spanish forward, who scored 17 goals in La Liga last season, "may well be in line to play this weekend subject to a medical".
That news will enrage Everton, not to mention Valencia, who have both been tailing Perez over the summer but the Sun says Arsenal's offer will trigger his release clause and Wenger is now ready to hand over the readies in a lump sum rather than split it in two.
Elsewhere and The Guardian is one of several papers to claim that Arsenal have finally got their hands on Shkodran Mustafi.
The paper states that the Gunners have "agreed to pay £35m" to Valencia in return for the German defender. The Spanish side had knocked back Arsenal's initial offer of £20m for the 24-year-old, who was on Everton’s books as a teenager, but such is Wenger's need for defensive reinforcements he upped his offer this week. The Guardian says that an agreement was finally reached on Thursday, with "Mustafi set for a medical before the weekend having agreed personal terms with the club".
Finally the Daily Star says that Arsenal could also be about to make a surprise move for Manchester City youngster Jason Denayer. Apparently the Belgium international, who arrived at City in 2013, has "grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities" at the Etihad, and is ready to move on with Arsenal, Sunderland and Turkish giants Galatasaray all linked to the 21-year-old centre-back.
Arsenal transfer news: Toprak and Mbemba are latest targets
As Premier League clubs hit the home straight of the summer transfer race, early pacesetters Arsenal find themselves gasping and groaning at the back of the field.
There's not enough space to list all the players who've knocked back Arsenal this summer but could a bit of business by Bayer Leverkusen open the door for a last ditch kick from the north London club? Caughtoffside reports that the German side has just signed 25-year-old Dynamo Kiev defender Aleksandar Dragovic on a five-year deal.
Nevermind that Dragovic is a player Arsenal have been linked with in the past, the deal is important because it throws the future of Lverkusen defender Omer Toprak into doubt, with the Turkish centre-back unsure of his place following the signature of Dragovic. According to Caughtoffside Arsene Wenger is "considering launching a £14m offer" for Toprak now that he's officially given up on signing Shkodran Mustafi.
But over at the Daily Star the smart money is on Arsenal signing Chancel Mbemba. The paper says that the Nutty Professor is "weighing up a move" for the Magpies centre-back with Newcastle ready to sell the 22-year-old for around £15m.
Apparently Arsenal are ready to meet that fee such is their desperation to strengthen their defence before the transfer deadline expires.
One player who definitely won't be heading to the Emirates in the next week is Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique. Taking part in a Q&A session on Twitter, the Spaniard was asked by celebrity loudmouth and Arsenal fan Piers Morgan if he could sign for the Gunners. "It's very, very difficult Piers," replied Pique, obviously aware there's no love lost between Morgan and Wenger. "Ask your 'friend' Arsene to buy quality defender!"
Meanwhile the Daily Mail claims that Arsenal have "made a late move" for Lucas Perez. The Deportivo La Coruna striker has been on Everton's radar for several month with the Mail saying that the Toffees are ready to pay the £16.9m buyout clause for the 27-year-old Perez, who scored 17 goals in La Liga last season.
But their dithering has given the Gunners hope of beating the Merseysiders to the prize although they themselves will have to beat off competition from Valencia, who see Lucas as a replacement for Paco Alcacer, expected to join Barcelona in the next week.
Arsenal transfer news: Secret £60m Griezmann deal collapses
Hardly a day goes by without more bad news for Arsenal fans in the transfer market and the latest setbacks involve Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette.
According to Metro, the Gunners have been secretly pursuing a move for France superstar Griezmann all summer.
The paper cites Squawka as its source but says that like most other Arsenal transfer sagas, this one seems destined to end in disappointment.
It’s a complicated tale that apparently depended on Chelsea striker Diego Costa re-joining Atletico Madrid, allowing Griezmann to move to The Emirates for around £60m. Had Costa moved then Romelu Lukaku would have returned to Stamford Bridge from Everton.
However, all three players are now expected to stay at their clubs which means the only players Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has signed this summer are untested defender Rob Holding and midfield general Granit Xhaka.
Griezmann was the top scorer and player of the tournament at the 2016 European Championships where he scored six goals as the French finished runners-up on home soil.
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard returns to familiar territory as it reports that Lyon have moved to end speculation about Lacazette by saying he is not for sale, at least not at the price Arsene Wenger wants to pay.
An offer of £60m might have convinced Lyon to part with the player, but that would be too much for Wenger who submitted a bid for half that amount during the summer. As a result Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas has announced: “Lacazette will stay with us.”
Aulas's comments come just days after Lacazette himself had confirmed his intention to stay in Ligue 1, despite extensive links to both Arsenal and West Ham, saying there would “no departure”.
Long-suffering Gunners fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of activity in the transfer market, having already missed out on players like Jamie Vardy and Gonzalo Higuain.
Arsenal transfer news: £24m for Evans or £42m for Mustafi
As Arsenal flounder around trying to secure the services of a defender before the transfer window closes it seems that their desperation has inflated the market.
The Gunners' latest target is former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, now with West Brom, who are said to want at least £25m for his services.
The Gunners are in dire need of an experienced centre-half after injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel. But according to the Daily Telegraph, West Brom will not consider anything less than £25m for Evans and value him at closer to £30m.
But although Arsene Wenger, who has made a faltering start to the new Premier League campaign, is under pressure from fans to bring in new faces the parsimonious Frenchman stubbornly refuses to splash the cash and is adamant new signings must represent value for money in a bloated transfer market. He might have a point as Evans, 28, signed for West Brom last season from Man Utd for an initial fee of £6m.
But Evans would still come cheaper than Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi with the Spanish side adamant they will not let him go for anything less than the £42m release clause in the German international's contract.
Wenger has also been linked with Jose Fonte, a snip at £12m, but Southampton are adamant he will be staying at St Mary's, even though Manchester United are now also interested in signing him.
The Arsenal manager partnered youngster Rob Holding with Laurent Koscielny in central defence during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Leicester on Saturday.
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