Arsenal, having missed out on a ‘top four’ Premier League finish for the first time in 20 years, are actively pursuing their transfer targets.
Arsenal already acquired the signings of Sead Kolasinac, the former Schalke 04 left back who joined them on a Bosman move along with £52.7 mil club record transfer of Alexandre Lacazette – the French hitman who recently completed his move from boyhood club Olympic Lyon.
The Gunners are currently sweating over the contract conundrum of their key stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who, reportedly, refused to extend their stay beyond next summer and are seeking move in search of Champions League football. Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger, the veteran French boss, fail to keep hold of their starlet duo Chris Willock and Kaylen Hinds who have joined Portuguese giants Benfica and Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg respectively.
Willock, the England youth international, joined the Gunners’ as a scholar back in 2003. The 19-year old forward was being monitored by league rivals Manchester City and despite Arsenal’s efforts to tie him down to a new long term deal, the Englishman let his contract run out and plied his trade in Portugal in order to sign a five-year deal with league champions Benfica after productive talks regarding first team opportunity. Willock, who made only a couple of senior appearances for his former employers, shared his elation about this new venture last week:
‘I think we have a great team and we can achieve great things in the future. I hope I can show what I can do on the field.’
Meanwhile, Kaylen Hinds, club’s another exciting prodigy, follows the footsteps of Willock and joins Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg for around £2 mil transfer fee. The 19-year old striker represented England in several youth ranks and spent the second half of previous campaign on loan to League Two side Stevenage FC. Although the Englishman failed to make any senior appearance for the Gunners, their former academy head Andries Jonker (who has been appointed as Wolfsburg’s first-team coach back in February) was aware of his potential and convinced Hinds to reunite with him on a three-year deal.
Per Mertesacker, the veteran Germany centre back, will retire at the end of this campaign to take charge of Gunners’ academy. His prime assignment will be to keep hold of Arsenal’s pool of young talents and stop high profile exits.