Watford‘s interest in Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs is over, with the Hornets frightened off by the £15m price tag placed on his head. London’s Evening Standard claims that the former England defender’s wage demands were also viewed by the Hertfordshire club as excessive.
For Gibbs, the news comes as a blow. Watford’s training ground backs on to Arsenal’s at Shenley, making it a convenient move for him. His limited opportunities at the Emirates became even more so when Saed Kolasinac joined from Schalke this summer.
Arsenal’s price tag is reported to be deterring other prospective buyers and may force them to rethink their priorities, especially with claims that the club won’t be able to afford the wages demanded by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez without selling others first.
Watford aren’t believed to be interested in negotiating the fee downwards and are turning their attention to other targets. The first of which may prove more fruitful with Middlesbrough bracing themselves for a bid for George Friend and are prepared to do business at £8m, the Hertfordshire Mercury suggests.
The 29-year-old has made more than 200 appearances for the Teesiders since joining them in 2012. With his career entering the final phase, Friend may find the lure of staying in the Premier League too much to resist.