The Gunners are looking to move players on to help fund deals for Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey – but don’t want to lose their England youngster
Arsenal are stepping up their attempts to move players out before Monday’s transfer deadline, although sources at the club have dismissed reports linking Ainsley Maitland-Niles with Manchester United as ‘pure speculation’.
The Gunners are well aware of the need to get some players out in the coming days, with several members of the first-team squad currently in talks over a potential move away.
Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are all free to leave before Monday’s 5pm deadline as Arsenal look to bring in some much-needed funds to help them in their pursuits of Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey.
Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen are long-term admirers of Kolasinac, who spent six years at Schalke before moving to Arsenal in 2017, and talks have been ongoing during the past fortnight over a possible deal.
Sources at Arsenal have told Goal that an agreement has yet to be reached, however, with talks over a potential transfer fee and the exact make-up of the deal set to continue.
Discussions are also ongoing with Atletico Madrid over Torreira, who has yet to play a single minute of football this season.
Ideally, Arsenal would want any deal to include the Ghana international, but Atletico remain insistent that they will not allow Partey to leave unless his £46 million ($59m) release clause is triggered.
Mustafi and Sokratis meanwhile are both deemed surplus to requirements by Arsenal and there has been interest from Italy in the former, although a deal is not believed to be close.
Sokratis was a target for Napoli, but the Serie A side are not expected to pursue their interest in the Greece international, unless Kalidou Koulibaly leaves, which now looks unlikely following Ruben Dias’ move to Manchester City.
One player who has been surprisingly linked with a move away is Maitland-Niles, with one report from Germany suggesting he was close to agreeing a shock switch to Manchester United.
Sources at both Arsenal and United have played down the prospect of the 23-year-old swapping Emirates Stadium for Old Trafford, however, dismissing it as speculation.
Maitland-Niles has started in three of Arsenal’s four games so far this season, as well as in the Community Shield against Liverpool at Wembley and Mikel Arteta has publicly stated his desire to keep him.
Meanwhile, talks with Lyon continue over a possible deal for Aouar.
Arsenal have already seen one bid of around £32m ($41m) rejected by Lyon for the 22-year-old, with Jean-Michel Aulas – the president of the French club – describing the offer as ‘timid’.
Arsenal are expected to return with an improved bid for the attacking midfielder, with Lyon believed to be asking for close to £45m ($58m).