Arsenal could have their plans to sign Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans wrecked by Tottenham this week. The Gunners take on Newcastle tonight (
Arsenal could have their plans to sign Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans wrecked by Tottenham this week. The Gunners take on Newcastle tonight (8pm) in a must-win clash for their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Tottenham’s 3-0 north London derby win last week cranked up the pressure on Arsenal, as did Spurs’ 1-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday. That, at least temporarily, moves them up to fourth and two points clear of Mikel Arteta’s men.
If Arsenal win at St James’ Park, they move back ahead of Spurs and would know victory against Everton at the Emirates on Sunday would guarantee a top-four finish. But anything other than a win in the north east could sound the death knell for Arsenal with their bitter rivals facing bottom-of-the-table Norwich on the last day.
And failing to secure fourth spot would be a serious hindrance to Arsenal’s plans to rob Leicester of Youri Tielemans this summer. Tielemans has been made a top target as Arsenal look to improve their midfield options and talkSPORT confirmed last week that Arteta’s side were confident of completing a deal for him once a top-four spot was wrapped up.
That was before the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Arsenal knew that a derby day win would rubber-stamp a return to Europe’s premier competition. Now, though, they could easily be back in the Europa League for the 2022-23 campaign if they slip up this week.
And given the widespread interest in Tielemans’ ability, he could be swayed by offers elsewhere if Arsenal do fail in their bid to finish fourth. It is highly likely Champions League clubs will be keen on the Belgian given he is out of contract in 2023 and prestigious clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid are among those linked.
Tielemans is all the more enticing a signing this summer given he is available for below his market value. That’s because Leicester risk losing the 25-year-old for free if he does not leave this year, as he has seemingly made it clear he does not wish to sign a new contract. And around £30million might be enough to sign him whereas in other circumstances the Foxes might expect to receive £50m or more.
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He is therefore a player who many clubs will keep tabs on. But Tielemans, with six Premier League goals this term and four assists after the exact same return last season, is exactly the type of box-to-box goalscoring midfielder that has been missed at Arsenal since Aaron Ramsey’s departure.
A deal to sign him looks far more likely with Champions League football on offer, and it may fall through if the Gunners’ European dreams are dashed. The midfielder himself said recently: “Of course, I want to play in the Champions League, just like any footballer. Am I ready for a European top club? I’m ready to get the best out of my career. We’ll see what happens next summer, or the summer after that.”
Newcastle and Spurs could have a significant role in which European top club Tielemans is turning out for next season. It could even be Tottenham if they finish fourth. But if Arsenal do what they need to do and win both of their last two matches, it looks pretty likely they will be welcoming a serious midfield upgrade – and at a very fair fee too. It would only double the pain if they failed to finish fourth and then missed out on their top target.