'Stretched finances' force Arsenal to pursue January loans - Paper Round
Arsenal forced to find loan deals due to finances, London clubs battle over Thomas Lemar loan and Tottenham 'agree' deal for Harry Kane replacement and eye up Barcelona defender. It's Friday's Paper Round...
New manager, same problems at Arsenal
Arsenal will have to dip into the loan market if they want to make any January signings due to "stretched finances", according to the Telegraph. New manager Mikel Arteta is keen to bring in a box-to-box midfielder and a defender in the winter window following inconsistent performances from the current midfielders so far this season and a long-term injury to Calum Chambers. Club officials believe there is "less value for money" in the January transfer window and that the Gunners "spent heavily" last summer bringing in Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee of £72 million. Arsenal have recently been linked with moves for Adrien Rabiot, Dayot Upamecano, Nathan Ake and Daniele Rugani.
Paper Round's view: It’s a nightmare for Arsenal if they can’t spend money in this transfer window. The club desperately need to improve their current position in the Premier League table and could genuinely compete for a trophy if they added some quality to their squad. The Gunners are still in the Europa League and have reached the latter stage in the past two seasons, finishing as runners-up last May. Their most realistic route back to the Champions League lies in Europe’s second-tier competition and by signing a solid centre-back and a dominant centre-midfielder, they could go all the way. However, it just seems like they will bring in a new Kim Kallstrom or Denis Suarez… so good luck to Mikel Arteta.
London rivals battle for Lemar loan deal
Premier League clubs Chelsea and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head in the battle to sign Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Lemar. According to the Telegraph, the London clubs are looking to sign the 24-year-old on loan until the end of the season after the Frenchman has "failed to live up to expectations" in the Spanish capital since his €60 million move from Monaco in the summer of 2018. Chelsea and Spurs also face competition from other unnamed European clubs, including sides from Russia, as they look to strengthen their attacking options. The report states that a loan for Lemar could allow Chelsea to have a short-term fix ahead of a potential summer move for £100 million-rated Jadon Sancho.
Paper Round's view: Thomas Lemar obviously has quality, but there’s no denying his time in Madrid has been a disappointment. The France international commanded such a high fee when leaving Ligue 1 because he was part of the World Cup winning squad and he had previously won the league with Monaco when they shocked Paris Saint-Germain in 2016-17. Playing for a Diego Simeone side can be tough for an attacking player, so maybe a move to the Premier League could resurrect his career. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are playing with plenty of attacking freedom and even Jose Mourinho isn’t instilling his usual turgid style at Tottenham.
Tottenham agree £28m transfer for Kane replacement
Tottenham Hotspur have moved quickly to sign a replacement for star striker Harry Kane, who will be out of action until April after tearing his hamstring in the New Year's Day defeat at Southampton. According to the Sun, Spurs have agreed a deal worth £28 million for AC Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek. The Polish international has recently fallen out of favour since Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to San Siro on a free transfer and Piatek caught the interest of multiple Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa, Newcastle and Crystal Palace. The 24-year-old is set to sign a three-and-a-half-year contract at the north London club, as Spurs pay an initial fee of £23.8 million to the Serie A side for a player they signed for £30 million just last January.
Paper Round's view: Piatek can score goals. He proved this last season when he bagged 19 goals in 21 appearances for Genoa before making his January move to Milan. Il Pistolero’s goals continued with the Rossoneri as he finished the season with 30 goals in all competitions, but Milan have been in poor form this season. The Serie A side sit in 12th place in the table and have struggled to perform consistently as a team. It makes sense that Piatek would want to leave after a 38-year-old Ibrahimovic is seen as a more likely starter ahead of him. It’s going to be tough to displace Kane at Spurs, but the 24-year-old has three months to prove himself in north London and the Premier League.
Spurs want to sign Semedo in January
Staying at Spurs, Mourinho's side are in the hunt to bring Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo to north London in the winter transfer window, according to the Mirror. The Premier League side failed to replace Kieran Trippier who joined Atletico Madrid last summer and are reportedly looking to loan out back-up defender Kyle Walker-Peters to Crystal Palace this month. Spurs' number one target is Norwich's Max Aarons, but the 19-year-old has recently gathered interest from respective league leaders in Spain and Germany - Barcelona and RB Leipzig. This could open the door to the possibility of current Barca full-back Semedo moving to Tottenham, who would be left short at the right side of defence with only Serge Aurier as a senior option.
Paper Round's view: It’s clear that Spurs need to improve in the full-back areas. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham used to have one of the strongest full-back partnerships in the Premier League when Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were both on song back in 2016-17. Even Trippier performed brilliantly for Spurs the season after Walker departed for Manchester City. Now Mourinho is left with an ageing Rose and the liability that is Serge Aurier. Nelson Semedo could offer the attacking threat that Trippier and Walker once offered down the right-hand side, but there are still question marks over his defensive abilities. Spurs fans probably agree that anyone is better than Aurier and Mourinho could be vital in convincing his compatriot Semedo to join him in London.