Arsenal are in the market for a creative attacking midfielder with Martin Ødegaard’s loan with the club expiring at the end of this month.
The Gunners have struggled for creativity since Mesut Özil’s departure, with none of their players managing more than 38 key passes in the Premier League last term.
football.london understands that Arsenal want Norwich’s Emi Buendia to fill the creative gap in the team, seeing a £30million offer rejected for the Argentine on Friday.
Technical director Edu may have to explore other options if he can’t land the 24-year-old and one of those could be AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu, according to a report from Turkish journalist Ekrem Konur.
Calhanoglu’s contract with the Rossoneri expires this month and the two parties are said to be still some way apart in agreeing upon a fair sum for the playmaker’s weekly wage, which could mean he leaves Milan on a free transfer this summer.
The Turkey international enjoyed a stellar 2020/21 campaign, leading Serie A for key passes and shot-creating actions to help secure his side a second-place finish, their highest in nine years.
Konur has claimed that Arsenal hold an interest in Calhanoglu, but would have to offer him a minimum salary of €5.5million (£4.7m) a year.
However, if his previous reported comments on one of Arsenal’s fiercest rivals – Chelsea – are anything to go by, he may well not be donning the famous red.
The 27-year-old was previously said to be desperate for a move to Chelsea back in 2017, with Turkish paper Fanatik claiming he said: “God willing, I will be a Chelsea player next season.”
However, he took to Twitter at the time to deny the reports, stating that he had never spoken about Chelsea in the press, and had not discussed his future with any Turkish journalist.
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And even if that was the case – four years is a long time in football, however with Chelsea’s European success and Arsenal failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years, the odds may be stacked against the Gunners.
With Chelsea’s plethora of attacking talent, it’s perhaps unlikely a move to Stamford Bridge would be possible and Calhanoglu’s manager, Stefan Pioli, played down the possibility of the Turkey international leaving the San Siro at all this summer.
“We’re in talks with Calhanoglu to extend his contract,” Pioli told DAZN.
“I’m sure he wants to stay, now it’s time for negotiations but we want to keep Hakan”.