Transfer Gossip: Mikel Arteta gets green light to sign lethal attacker as star declares Arsenal his favourite English club; West Ham want Man Utd ace as Rice replacement
Arsenal are the best-placed English team to sign a deadly winger after he named the Gunners his preferred Premier League club, West Ham hope to bring in a Manchester United player as Declan Rice’s midfield replacement, while Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Southampton, Brighton and the Hammers all want a Serie A man.
BARCELONA ACE REVEALS ARSENAL LOVE
Barcelona winger Raphinha has raised eyebrows by speaking publicly about his admiration for Arsenal, amid rumours Mikel Arteta’s side could bid for him this summer.
Raphinha was hugely influential for Leeds during his two-year spell at Elland Road. The Brazilian became an instant hit among Leeds fans due to his exciting style of play and hard-working nature.
He finished his debut campaign with six goals and nine assists in 31 matches, helping Leeds to manage ninth place on their long-awaited return to England’s top flight.
Raphinha got even better the following season, despite Leeds having to battle hard against relegation. He registered 11 goals and three assists in 35 appearances. That saw him finish as Leeds’ outright top scorer, while he also scored a penalty on the final day of the season as the Whites beat Brentford 2-1 to retain their Premier League status.
The 26-year-old decided he wanted to leave Leeds in summer 2022, and this saw Arsenal and Chelsea begin negotiations for him. However, he only wanted Barca at the time and this helped them secure a £55million agreement with Leeds.
But rumours are now beginning to swirl about Raphinha potentially coming back to England. Spanish outlet Cadena Ser claimed earlier this month that Barca will have to sell a big name in the summer, with Raphinha the most likely to go.
Arsenal are once again on the hunt for him, and they have now been given a major boost. During an interview with journalist Adri Contreras, the attacker has spoken about other teams he might join.
Fabrizio Romano provides a summary of what Raphinha said, and it is great reading for Arsenal supporters.
Raphinha delights Arteta with Arsenal admission
“The team where I’d never play in my life: Real Madrid,” the star declared.
“Other Spanish clubs I like? Only Barca.
“Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are two clubs I like, outside Spain.
“I’d like [Lionel] Messi to return to Barca, of course.”
If Barca do put Raphinha up for sale this summer, it looks like Arsenal and PSG will be favourites to capture him. After all, when moving from Leeds to Barca, Raphinha showed he can put his foot down and only move to a club that suits him.
Man Utd have been tipped to complete a double raid on Barca for Raphinha and fellow winger Ansu Fati. However, if Raphinha is to depart the Camp Nou, it seems it will only be for Arsenal or PSG.
WEST HAM EYE MAN UTD STAR
West Ham have begun pursuing Man Utd’s Scott McTominay as they step up their search for Declan Rice replacements, according to a report.
Rice’s West Ham contract expires in summer 2024 and he has rejected several offers from the club to extend it. Therefore, the Hammers will probably have to sell him this summer to still receive a good amount of money for him.
On Saturday, insider Ben Jacobs explained to TEAMtalk how McTominay will become available for transfer once the summer window opens. He put Newcastle up there as the Scot’s main suitors.
Football Insider have now provided an update on the situation. It seems Newcastle will face competition from West Ham for McTominay as David Moyes is eyeing him as Rice’s potential replacement.
West Ham could make big profit in the summer, too. While Rice will cost around £70m for other clubs, McTominay will be available to West Ham for £25m.
Clearly, Rice going will be a huge loss. He is arguably West Ham’s best player and he has captained them regularly in recent campaigns.
But as replacements go, McTominay certainly seems to be a good option. He knows what it is like to play at the highest level, having represented Man Utd in the Champions League games and Scotland at Euro 2020.
He has come in for criticism while playing for the Red Devils, particularly from Roy Keane. But if Moyes can get the best out of him then he could become a reliable performer at the London Stadium.
And there is a good chance McTominay would welcome the move to West Ham. He is struggling to get into the Man Utd starting eleven amid competition for places from Casemiro, Marcel Sabizter and Fred. And he will get even less game time once Christian Eriksen returns from injury in April.
McTominay would be sad about leaving Old Trafford. He came through the Man Utd academy and has never played for another team at senior level.
But at 26 years old he must put game time before club affiliations so he can become a regular for another Premier League side. And West Ham looks like it could be a great opportunity, as long as they avoid relegation this term.
BRIGHTON, SOUTHAMPTON AND WEST HAM IN MIX FOR SERIE A MIDFIELDER
McTominay is not the only potential Rice replacement West Ham are looking at, as they have also been credited with an interest in Lecce’s Danish midfielder Morten Hjulmand. Although, competition for his signature will come from fellow Prem teams Brighton and Southampton.
Italian source Calciomercato mainly focus on Inter Milan and AC Milan chasing Hjulmand. But they are at risk of losing out on him due to growing English interest.
Southampton are expected to re-open talks with Lecce this summer. They already held discussions over the 23-year-old in January but did not manage to take him to St Mary’s.
West Ham and Brighton have now joined the pursuit for the Lecce captain. And they know exactly how much he will cost, too.
While Southampton were plotting an €11m (£9.7m) bid last month, Lecce will only sell Hjulmand for €20m (£17.7m). This is an affordable figure for all three Prem outfits.
As with McTominay, one big factor which will influence where Hjulmand goes is the threat of relegation. If Southampton and West Ham go down, then this will rule them out of the running for the Danish player.
Brighton would love this, at it would make them the main English suitors for him.
But if Southampton and West Ham both manage to avoid the drop, then they will remain in the chase for him.
Hjulmand’s Lecce contract runs until June 2024, while transfermarkt place his valuation at €8m (£7.1m).
The article Transfer Gossip: Mikel Arteta gets green light to sign lethal attacker as star declares Arsenal his favourite English club; West Ham want Man Utd ace as Rice replacement appeared first on Teamtalk.com.