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Transfer Rumor: Arsenal interested in Steven Nzonzi

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Unai Emery coached Nzonzi for a season at Sevilla.

Sevilla FC v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One
Add Steven Nzonzi to the list of players linked to Arsenal this summer.
Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

You there, yes you! Did you know that you could be linked in a transfer rumor with Arsenal Football Club? You just need to have passed new Head Coach Unai Emery or Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat on the street at some point in your life and you’re set.

The latest player on the list of former Emery charges to be linked with Arsenal is Sevilla midfielder and French international Steven Nzonzi. According to Estadio Deportivo (link in Spanish), Nzonzi would like a change of scenery but the club does not want to make a move until after the World Cup. Because Estadio Deportivo is Sevilla-based and tied to El Mundo (a legitimate newspaper), I’m inclined to give the rumor more weight than I do most transfer speculation at this point of the year.

While the €40M release clause in his contract is a bit steep especially for a 29-year-old, Nzonzi has Premier League experience from his time with Stoke and Blackburn (and Champions League experience at Sevilla) and could fit nicely alongside Granit Xhaka. Nzonzi is a strong tackler who would lessen Xhaka’s defensive responsibilities and can distribute the ball effectively after winning it back. The two are similar - Nzonzi is probably a better tackler, Xhaka a better long passer.

I put a potential Nzonzi buy into the “sure, why not” category. He’s not exciting, but he would be a safe signing that would be more likely to improve rather than weaken the club.