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Report: Arsenal bid for Edon Zhegrova from Lille

Who? I mean, yeah. I totally know all about him.

Lille OSC v Clermont Foot - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Arsenal have reportedly bid for Lille winger Edon Zhegrova. The transfer rumor made the rounds yesterday, and the bulk of the reaction (to the extent there was a reaction at all) was “huh?” Zhegrova is a 23-year old attacker who plays for the Kosovo national team. He joined Lille in January on a €7M transfer from Swiss side Basel.

Normally I wouldn’t even dignify a rumor like this with a post, but it’s early July and things are slow. There is going to be speculation linking Arsenal with wingers, especially after Fabrizio Romano said on the Golazo! podcast that he believes the Gunners are working to sign a mystery winger that he didn’t want to name before confirming that his sources were accurate. Beyond that, it’s clear that Mikel Arteta is in the market for another attacking winger this summer, with the club still pursuing Raphinha, even though they don’t look likely to sign him at this point.

I don’t put any stock in this particular rumor. The source, Arlind Sadiku, is a Kosovar football journalist, so he probably has sources in Zhegrova’s (also from Kosovo) camp. cited Sadiku in a write-up of the rumor, which I suppose says something for his credibility, but I don’t think it means much more than Sadiku is reputable enough to earn the professional courtesy of that kind of acknowledgment. None of the big, established Arsenal journalists have anything on the link.

To be fair, the Fabio Vieira move came completely out of left field from a non-London-based journalist, and Arsenal are said to be playing things much closer to the vest this transfer window. Anything is possible, I suppose.

There is hardly enough data on Zhegrova to draw any conclusions. He played 500 some-odd minutes for Lille after joining the club in January from Swiss club Basel. He scored 11 goals in 73 appearances in the Swiss Super League. He made 13 appearances in Ligue Un, scoring two goals and adding one assist. He’s a strong, progressive dribbler, but I’d be lying if I said I remember having watched him play.

Arsenal don’t have a great track record buying attacking players from Lille, see e.g. Nicolas Pepe and Gervinho. Fortunately, I don’t think there is anything to this rumor, so the Gunners probably aren’t going to get burned again.