Arsenal transfer news: Doubts over Jamie Vardy and no Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Arsenal fans could be forgiven for experiencing a familiar pang of anxiety today as their summer transfer plans begin to unravel.
First is the news that Leicester City still hope to persuade Jamie Vardy to remain with the Foxes next season despite official confirmation that Arsenal has made an offer. Manager Claudio Ranieri says that Arsenal triggered Jamie Vardy's release clause, as reported, but that he hopes to keep the striker.
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"We want to keep him, Arsenal have said they will pay the full release clause, but he hasn’t accepted yet. He gets the last word," he told the Daily Mirror. The paper adds that Leicester have responded with "a new bumper contract offer of their own in a last-ditch bid to retain Vardy".
Meanwhile the Gunners have made Henrikh Mkhitaryan their "number one target" this summer, according to ESPN, but have little chance of landing him.
The Armenian captain has turned down the offer of a new contract at Dortmund. His contract expires next year, but the club, who have already lost Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels, has said it will not cash in on him this summer.
But even if they change their mind, he won't be joining Arsenal. The player's agent Mino Raiola told Bild: "Manchester United are a unique opportunity. Micki wants to join them now by any means."
Could the Gunners have better luck with Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez, who wants to leave Wolfsburg? The left-back, currently with Switzerland at Euro 2016, has been linked with a move to Arsenal and is valued at around £19m, says the Daily Express.
According to the paper, Wolfsburg chief executive Klaus Allofs told the Swiss media: "Rici has stated that his future is not with us."
Arsenal transfer news: Slimani, not Vardy, to oust Walcott
It's all getting a little confusing as far as Arsenal's pursuit of Jamie Vardy goes with The Sun doing its best to clarify the latest chain of events.
Ten days ago it emerged that the Gunners had triggered the Leicester striker's £20m release clause and it was expected that the 29-year-old would agree verbally to a move before the Euros started. The Foxes even began drawing up a shopping list of replacements in expectation of Vardy's departure and top of that list was Sporting Lisbon hitman Islam Slimani.
But a week on and the indications from the King Power Stadium are now that Vardy will reject Arsenal's approach and stay at Leicester. As a result, claims the Sun, the Gunners "are ready to switch their attention to the Sporting Lisbon star instead".
Apparently the Algerian striker has a £23.5m buyout fee in his deal with the Portuguese club and local rag O Jogo claims that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger "will offer the full amount" to land Slimani.
The purchase of Slimani looks like sounding the death knell for Theo Walcott's Arsenal career with the Evening Standard reporting that Liverpool are preparing a lucrative package to snap up the 27-year-old England reject. The injury-prone winger netted only nine goals in 41 appearances for the Gunners last season and according to the Standard a "four-year deal is said to be on the table at Anfield" with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confident of landing the winger.
Finally there's confirmation in Metro that Arsenal have signed Kelechi Nwakali on a five-year deal. The 18-year-old midfielder penned a pre-contract deal with the north London club in January but as Metro explains a full transfer could not be finalised until he turned 18, owing to Fifa regulations. He reached the milestone on 5 June and the Nigerian youngster boasted to the local media: "I just came back from London, I have signed a five-year contract with Arsenal."
Arsenal transfer news: Edinson Cavani is Plan B if Jamie Vardy move fails
With Jamie Vardy mulling over a possible move to Arsenal, the Daily Express claims that the Gunners have got a Plan B in place if the England striker stays loyal to Leicester.
That plan involved offering Paris Saint-Germain frontman Edinson Cavani £120,000-a-week to sign on the dotted line. The Express claims that Cavani "is set to leave" the French capital this summer but he won't be going to China as one or two of the more sensationalist papers claimed last month.
Apparently the Uruguay international "has snubbed a £500k-a-week deal" from the Chinese Super League, but he is open to offers from Arsenal. Boss Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Cavani's and the Arsenal board are ready to offer him the eye-watering wages if he signs for them and snubs reported interest from one or two Spanish clubs.
From Uruguay to Albania and the Daily Star's assertion that Arsenal are "weighing up a £15m swoop" for Elseid Hysaj. The 22-year-old Napoli right-back played in his country's opening Euro 2016 clash against Switzerland on Saturday and is described by the Star as one of Europe's "brightest young defensive talents".
Wenger is in France running the rule over Hysaj and "is poised to confirm his interest with a concrete offer". The Gunners gaffer is particularly drawn to the Albanian's versatility because he is comfortable at both left and right-back and he's also aware that Hysaj has attracted interest from Chelsea and Manchester United. However, the Frenchman is confident the lure of Champions League football will prove enough of a draw for Hysaj.
And the Star also claims that sources in Germany report that Wenger is circling Bayern Munich's Brazil defender Rafinha. The 30-year-old has been scouted by Arsenal and the South American's experience could soon be seen at the Emirates.
Arsenal transfer talks: No Brozovic deal, Nabil Fekir wanted
Arsenal have an interest across the Channel and it's nothing to do with the European Championships that kick off tonight. Rather it's Lyon attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir who has got the Gunners excited with Talksport reporting that the French outfit are "willing to listen to offers" for the 22-year-old playmaker.
Worryingly for Gunners fans, given Arsenal's recent track record of injuries, Fekir missed most of last season with a serious knee injury but French media outlet Le10 Sport says that hasn't dimmed Arsene Wenger's interest.
Fekir returned to action in April and though he missed out on selection for the Euros squad, the Frenchman could be heading to the Emirates before long after Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said they may be ready to part with Fekir this summer "if somebody stumps up enough cash".
The news isn't so good for Arsenal from Italy, reports Gazzetta dello Sport via Talksport, with Marcelo Brozovic dismissing rumours he is thinking of leaving Inter Milan.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea have all been mentioned as suitors for the 23-year-old midfielder, who'll be seen playing for Croatia in the Euros. However, speaking on the eve of the tournament, Brozovic said of the transfer speculation: "I never asked to leave Inter. I never said nor requested anything, I'm absolutely not thinking of a transfer."
Finally, the Daily Mirror claims Arsene Wenger has "fuelled speculation" he is lining up a move for Leicester midfielder N'Golo Kante during a chat with beIN Sports. The Foxes playmaker has been linked with a £20m move to the Emirates and when asked about his compatriot, currently preparing for France's Euro opener tonight against Romania, Wenger replied: "I admire and like N'Golo Kante a lot. It gives you ideas. He gives you the feeling that the higher the level he plays at, the more at ease he is."
The Mirror says Chelsea are "ready to treble his current £35,000 per week wages" in the hope it will persuade Kante to move to Stamford Bridge but Arsenal remain in the driving seat to sign the midfielder.
Arsenal transfer news: Mkhitaryan move as Vardy wait goes on
With their move for Jamie Vardy on hold until after England are knocked out of Euro 2016 on penalties, Arsenal have turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
According to the Daily Express the Gunners "are moving closer to a deal" for the 27-year-old midfielder who scored 11 goals and notched up 15 assists last season. The paper adds that the Armenia ace is "pushing for a move" from Dortmund and recently turned down their offer of a new deal. As for what Arsenal may have to pay for Mkhitaryan, £25m is the figure quoted by the German press.
Still with matters German, Metro carries comments made by Per Mertesacker that suggest the Arsenal defender is mulling over a return to his former club Hannover 96. The 31-year-old beanpole has been a fixture in the Gunners defence since arriving at the Emirates in 2011 but his lack of pace and agility has led to rumours that Arsene Wenger was looking at bringing in a new centre-back over the summer. Asked about his future, Mertesacker replied: "It might be interesting for me to give something back to Hannover 96 because that was where it all began [for me]."
Arsenal transfer news: No Vardy deal yet, Gibbs shown exit
Patience is the name of the game for the Gunners as far as Jamie Vardy goes. According to the London Evening Standard the Leicester striker is focusing on England's European Championships campaign and "is not expected to inform Arsenal of his intentions over his prospective transfer to the club" until the Three Lions have been knocked out of the tournament.
The Gunners triggered the 29-year-old's release clause at the weekend and the Standard says that they "are willing to be patient" not just because of Vardy's international commitments but also because they are aware he has a "bond with the club and its supporters" which will not be easily broken.
Leicester rescued Vardy's career in 2012 when they fished him out of non-league obscurity and the Arsenal board are "loath to put undue pressure on the forward" as he contemplates his future.
And another player focusing on the Euros before any potential move to Arsenal is Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez. The Daily Express reports that the Switzerland defender "has been linked with a £19m move" to Arsenal, and is eager to join international team-mate Granit Xhaka at the Emirates following his move last month.
Kieran Gibbs is expected to be offloaded by Arsene Wenger in the coming weeks to make room for Rodriguez, who when asked by German daily Bild about the rumours, replied: "I'm only thinking about the European Championship. What will be after that, will be."
Finally, ESPN reports that Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko is angling for a move to the Emirates. The 26-year-old wants out of the relegated Magpies, telling Foot Mercato: "I hope that Newcastle will be smart enough to understand that to continue my development I need to keep playing at the highest level."
Asked where he saw himself next season, the playmaker, who is currently with the France squad at the Euros, replied: "Arsenal is one of the best European clubs... I hope I will have a chance soon to play for this club... the beautiful Arsenal. We'll see."
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