The winter transfer window has only just recently closed, but that hasn’t put one of last month’s potential moves to bed, as reports have began to surface that Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has turned down the offer to renew his contract with the Foxes, setting the stage for a bidding war on the Belgian international this upcoming summer.
I’ve been told Youri Tielemans will NOT extend his contract with Leicester. New deal bid has been turned down - current one expires in 2023. #LCFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 11, 2022
Of course Youri will be professional, he’s focused on Leicester. Many top clubs want him for June.
More: https://t.co/zGmzMaADUd pic.twitter.com/BIpAwzzGfp
It was rumored that Arsenal were interested in the 24 year old midfielder over the winter, with his agent spotted at London Colney, Arsenal’s training center. Unfortunately, as with all of Arsenal’s rumored transfer options in the winter window, nothing came to fruition. Unlike other options, though, it looks like that was far from the end of it. Arsenal appear to still be keen on signing Tielemans this summer in what is shaping up to be another massive series of transfers for the Gunners.
This isn't the first time Arsenal have been linked with Tielemans, either. Four years ago, the Belgian moved to Monaco from Anderlecht before eventually signing with Leicester, reportedly turning down a transfer to Arsenal under Arsene Wenger after being told that he would not be assured much playing time in Arsenal’s veteran-laden midfield. Four years later, Arsenal’s midfield room has been, gutted, torn down, and is in the process of being rebuilt, while Tielemans has proven to be a top Premier League midfielder who would undoubtedly walk into Arsenal’s thin midfield.
Tieleman’s passing ability and knack for long shots are his strengths, which were on full display during Leicester’s FA Cup title over Chelsea last season, and Arsenal would be hard pressed to find a player of his caliber, youth, and Premier League experience next summer. Mikel Arteta has made it clear that his focus will be on continuing to build on his youth movement, and Tielemans certainly falls into that category, even if he is a little long in the tooth compared to players like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
There are questions, though, as to Tieleman’s work rate, as the Leicester star has been accused of not being defensively reliable or focused at times. If that sounds vaguely familiar, those were largely the same accusations leveled at Mesut Ozil, and those were grossly exaggerated. Despite those purported weaknesses, Tielemans would be a great get for Arsenal, who have lacked a proper 8 since Aaron Ramsey left for Juventus in 2019.
Arsenal are also not going to find his transfer to come easily. The competition will be fierce, as teams across England and Europe are well aware of the latest development in Tieleman’s contract situation and will be lining up at the chance to make an offer to the former Golden Boy nominee. But with Arsenal’s wage bill now opened up and last summer’s huge window proving Arsenal’s willingness to invest, don’t expect the Arteta and Edu to go quietly into the night. As always, we will update the situation as events warrant.