As Arsenal continue to be linked to a plethora of midfielders and strikers, a slightly unusual, but not unfamiliar, name has popped up once again. Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski has been linked with a move to Arsenal before the January transfer window slams shut.
The Gunners have a peculiar transfer relationship with Juventus in transfer dealings. The Gunners lost midfielder Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer to Turin in 2019. Juventus also went on to sign Manuel Locatelli and Dusan Vlahovic, two players that the Gunners were heavily invested in. Arsenal had the opportunity to sign Arthur Melo on loan from the Italian club, only for a spectacular collapse in the deal after months of negotiations.
At Turin meanwhile, Kulusevski seems an unhappy man. After an impressive stint with Parma, the Swedish international signed for the Serie A side in 2020. He had a decent start at Juventus, with 7 goals and 7 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions.
However, the 21-year-old has struggled for minutes this season. Juventus manager Allegri has preferred to use Chiesa, Cuadrado, Kean and even Rabiot in the wider areas. Now, Alfredo Pedulla (via Daily Cannon) reports that the Gunners have established fresh contact with the Serie A club.
Arsenal have been linked to Dejan Kulusevski in the past too. The report also claims that the move could materialize if Juventus are open to a loan deal with an option to buy. Italian outlet Tuttosport confirm the Gunners’ intent to proceed with the deal, albeit only on a loan basis.
The Athletic suggests that the deal may not be all too straight forward. Fellow North London club Tottenham Hotspur are front-runners for the winger’s signature. Kulusevski can play on either wing, as a 10 or even a shadow-striker. This matches the profile that Spurs have been hunting for throughout the window. They missed out on Luis Diaz and Adama Traore to Liverpool and Barcelona respectively.
Meanwhile, Sports Media Set report that Arsenal are actually in pole position to land Dejan Kulusevski. Previously, the 21-year-old has proclaimed himself to be a supporter of the North London Reds. On a Swedish podcast Lundh in October 2019, Kulusevski said:
“My favourite team is Arsenal, because I like everything about the club, the city, the players and the way they play football.”
Why Arsenal exactly need Dejan Kulusevski is perplexing. The Atalanta product would be additional depth in the wings, where Arsenal have Saka, Martinelli and Pepe. The Swedish international can neither cover the defensive midfield position nor centre-forward role where the Gunners need depth.
Earlier reports suggested that Juventus were only willing to let go of Kulusevski for an “exorbitant fee”. The Bianconeri forked out £31.5m to sign the winger from Parma and will be hoping to recoup whatever they can from a sale.
It is possible that the links to Arsenal have been made only as leverage in negotiations or to jack up the price. Kulusevski is a player who fits the bill for what Conte requires at Tottenham right now. However, he would be nothing more than a luxury signing for Arsenal.