ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/Getty Images
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reportedly wants to sign Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso as part of a summer spending spree should the 67-year-old sign a new contract at the end of the season.
Wenger’s current deal with the Gunners expires this summer, but French publication L’Equipe (h/t Football.London’s Charles Watts) believes Wenger will sign a one-year contract and be given the green light to spend big in the transfer window.
Tolisso will be one of the Frenchman’s main targets, per the reports: “L’Equipe name Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso as one of Wenger’s potential targets, with the £30 million rated star expected to leave the Ligue 1 club at the end of the season.”
LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images
Lyon ace Tolisso has previously made it clear how much he admires the Gunners, per another report from L’Equipe (h/t Watts): “Many clubs make me dream like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and England with teams like Arsenal. I like the Premier League and I think I am well suited to it.”
Arsenal’s chances of signing Tolisso are also strengthened by mooted fellow suitors Juventus losing interest, according to L’Equipe (h/t Metro‘s Mark Brus).
There is no doubt Tolisso has the technical qualities Wenger is sure to admire. The Gunners boss loves midfielders who can dictate games with astute passing, perceptive vision and classy touches.
Those attributes are at the core of Tolisso’s game, with the precocious 22-year-old providing six assists and scoring 14 goals in all competitions for Les Gones this season, per WhoScored.com.
Of course, Arsenal aren’t exactly short of options in attacking midfield areas, with Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil all available. However, Ozil’s contract runs out in 2018 and he’s yet to agree to fresh terms.
Signing Tolisso would give Wenger a young French prospect he could develop into a star. It’s the pattern he has followed most often in the transfer market throughout his career.
Nice Confirm Midfield Talisman is Available
Tolisso isn’t the only midfielder the Gunners could sign this summer, though. In fact, reported Arsenal target Jean Michael Seri will be available, provided a club pays the Nice man’s £33 million release clause.
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere made it clear the club will sell if somebody meets the clause, per an interview with RMC (h/t Metro‘s James Goldman): “Even if people do not take clauses seriously in France, they deserve some sort of respect. If tomorrow, a club offers €40 million for Jean-Michael, he will go.”
Those words should encourage Arsenal, who have been linked with Seri, along with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, per Ed Aarons of the Guardian.
Like Tolisso, Seri has the technical quality to fit in with Arsenal’s expansive style of play. He is described as the player who makes Nice tick by Michael Yokhin of FourFourTwo, who also applauded the player’s versatility: “He can be a deep-lying maestro in the style of Andrea Pirlo, is frequently used as a box-to-box midfielder and excels when positioned as a classical playmaker behind the strikers.”
Seri could be the dynamic, forward-thinking runner the Gunners need alongside deep-lying playmaker Granit Xhaka. His signing would key a much-needed overhaul of Arsenal’s midfield.
Wenger has seen his team struggle to play with its usual style and fluency too often this season. The main problem has been a midfield short of guile, while pint-sized pass-master Santi Cazorla has been injured.
Signing one or both of Tolisso and Seri would give Arsenal the skill and craft in the middle to play the free-flowing football Wenger likes next season.