Arsenal are reportedly interested in Chelsea’s Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer.
RMC report that Unai Emery has registered interest in the midfielder, alongside Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo and Manchester United, who see him as a potential replacement for Nemanja Matic.
The 24-year-old spent last season away from the Premier League on loan at AC Milan after a disappointing first campaign with the Blues when he signed from Ligue 1-winning side Monaco for an estimated £40m (per the Standard) in 2017.
However, a promising period in Serie A has seen Bakayoko’s form improve and subsequently drawn interest from a number of clubs this summer. Indeed, former Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso praised the 24-year-old for some of his performances at the San Siro, describing him as ‘an atypical deep-lying midfielder in modern football.’
‘He can turn the moves from defensive to attacking, he takes men on and always gets past them,” said the Italian to Rai Sport via Football Italia in January.
The Gunners will be without Aaron Ramsey next season after the Wales international agreed to join Juventus on a free and face the prospect of losing dogged midfielder Lucas Torreira who is apparently unhappy with life in England and has told the club he wants to move, according to journalist Alfredo Pedulla.
Emery is apparently now considering a move for Bakayoko, who made an average 2.3 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game last season (as per WhoScored), to add a domineering presence to his engine room. To put that into context, that’s more than both Torreira and Granit Xhaka managed in the centre of the park for the Gunners last season, as well as winning more aerial duels than that pair.
While he barely set the world alight during his time at Chelsea – with his performance against Watford in January 2018 described as one of the worst of the 2017/18 season by Jamie Carragher – he does appear to have the raw tools to improve Arsenal’s midfield defensively.
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