North London Rivals Also Linked
Arsenal will have to battle Tottenham Hotspur for the Villareal midfielder Pablo Fornals.
The Spaniard was linked in January with interest from both the Gunners and West Ham United. But the Daily Express has now thrown Spurs into the mix and the paper claims Arsenal may have to sell Mesut Ozil before they can do any deal.
Fornals has a release clause of €30million (just under £27million) in his contract with Villareal and the La Liga side are expected to insist on every last penny before they part with their star player.
Arsenal are expected to be working on a transfer budget this summer of €45-50million.
But the Express claims Ozil and his wages estimated at £350,000 a week may need to be shifted before the Gunners make a move for Fornals. That picture may change if Arsenal clinch a top four place at the end of the season and with it a place in next season’s Champions League. The additional £40-50million income would make a huge difference to the club’s budget.
However, the problem for Unai Emery is finding a club willing to take on Ozil and his wages. Any pay cut following a transfer may have to be at least partially financed by a lump-sum payment to the German. Already, Inter Milan have been put off a move for Ozil by his personal terms.
Tottenham are also being linked with Fornals after failing to replace Moussa Dembele who left for China in January. But Spurs are operating under budgetary constraints of their own following an over-run of their new stadium project.