West Bromwich Albion centre-back Jonny Evans, 30, was heavily linked with the Gunners throughout the summer but seemed to be heading to Manchester City after Pep Guardiola once again renewed his interest in the Northern Ireland international.
However, the City boss is now targeting Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, 23, whose £57m release clause is proving no obstacle to England’s richest club.
It’s left Evans with two options: to stay at the Hawthorns or hope Arsenal meet West Brom’s valuation. Reports suggest that this has now fallen to £23m from £30m quoted earlier in the transfer window with the Baggies realising that next summer,
Evans value will be one-tenth of what it is now if West Brom are relegated from the top flight. It’s a double-edged sword for the West Midlands club; take a good fee now and damage their survival hopes or keep Evans and risk losing £20m.
Arsenal, currently locked in talks with Dortmund over 28-year-old Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are keen to strengthen their defence. Evans arrival would allow Laurent Koscielny to receive full treatment on a troublesome Achilles injury which has dogged him for more than a year.
With less than a week of the window remaining, can Arsenal complete two big deals before the window closes?