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Arsenal Transfer Rumor Updates: Gabriel Balogun, Lokonga, Tierney, Tavares

The Gunners have some outgoing business to do before the transfer window closes.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The transfer window closes on September 1st and Arsenal have some outgoing business to do. The squad needs trimming and several players are expected to depart the Emirates on or before deadline day. Here are the latest transfer rumors.

  • Gabriel Magalhaes: The centerback has been linked to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia and Real Madrid following Eder Militao’s ACL injury. The rumors are fueled, at least in part, by Mikel Arteta’s tactical decision to not start Gabriel in the first two Premier League matches.

Instead, Arteta opted to cram the lineup with as many ball-possessors and skilled passers to pressure opponents who don’t offer as much going the other way. I suspect Thomas Partey’s temporary inclusion on the backline is also to blame for Gabriel’s spot on the bench. The Arsenal manager has brought the Brazilian on in both matches to hold onto a lead, and he donned the captain’s armband after replacing Martin Ødegaard against Crystal Palace. Against tougher opposition, expect Mikel Arteta to start Gabriel from the off. The return of Oleksandr Zinchenko from injury will allow Arsenal to fall into the defensive shape and rotations from last season.

The interest from Al-Ittihad is real, according to reports. The Real Madrid interest seems more speculative. Arsenal have no intention to sell Gabriel, and the most recent word is that the player is happy at the club, even with being temporarily dropped from the starting XI. That he took the armband seems a strong indication that he hasn’t had his head turned (like some have suggested) and is still fully onboard the good ship Arsenal.

This seems like much ado about nothing, an artifact of the transfer rumor beast needing feeding, and people connecting dots that aren’t meant to be connected. Clubs that intend to challenge for league titles shouldn’t (and don’t) sell their starting CB late in the transfer window, especially not after losing a defender to injury early in the season.

  • Folarin Balogun: the USMNT striker has been training away from the main group at Arsenal for weeks. It’s clear he’s going to be sold before the close of the transfer window. Monaco have had a bid rejected, and Inter Milan have withdrawn their interest because they cannot come close to Arsenal’s £50M asking price.

Recently, both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with moves. The Blues are down two strikers to injury - Christopher Nkunku and Armando Broja. It’s a bit tough to see why Balogun would move to a club with an impending logjam up top. That’s what he’s trying to escape at Arsenal. Then again, you could say the same thing about most of the players acquired as part of Todd Boehly’s spending spree, and they all made the move.

According to reports (and hilariously, I might add), Arsenal supposedly quoted Spurs a price higher than the well-publicized £50M price tag for Balogun.

Fulham are an intriguing landing spot. The Cottagers have just sold Aleksandar Mitrović to Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia for a reported £46M. They have cash in hand and need a striker. The Cottagers have been linked with a move for Hugo Ekitike from PSG, who’d come much cheaper but is basically unproven at top-level football. It feels as if they should at least inquire about Balogun. West Ham are also reportedly interested in him.

The Balogun transfer saga may come down to deadline day, but a move is overwhelming likely to happen. Arsenal may even be intentionally waiting until closer to the close of the window in the hopes that multiple Premier League clubs might get into a bidding war and drive up the price / agree to pay the £50M ask.

  • Kieran Tierney: For the second time this season, the Scottish left back was fit and available for selection but left out of the Arsenal matchday squad. It seems incredibly likely he won’t be with the club once the transfer window closes on September 1st.

Early in the summer, Newcastle looked the likeliest destination for Tierney. The Magpies are the club most able to meet Arsenal’s £30M valuation, although there have been reports that the club is concerned about running afoul of Financial Fair Play restrictions with more incoming transfers.

Real Sociedad have been heavily linked with a loan move. The Spanish club have comparatively less money to spend and want an option to buy at the end of the loan. Arsenal want an obligation.

Keep an eye on Celtic, too. Brendan Rodgers cryptically suggested that even though the Scottish side don’t have the finances to buy Tierney and perhaps not even the funds to cover his wages, something might happen.

  • Nuno Tavares: the Portuguese left back is another for whom a move away from Arsenal looks a sure thing this transfer window. Nottingham Forest reportedly bid on him but that potential move has fallen apart. Aston Villa have most recently been linked with a move, and West Ham reportedly kicked the tires, too.
  • Sambi Lokonga: The out-of-favor midfielder had been heavily linked for most of the summer with a move to Burnley to reunite with his countryman Vincent Kompany. That now appears to be off with the Clarets turning their attention elsewhere. The most recent reports have Brighton interested in a loan move. The Seagulls are in need of midfielders after selling Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo this summer.