Arsenal are prepared to splash £68 million on three young players in the transfer market this summer, according to reports.
The Express (opens in new tab) writes that the Gunners have their eye on Manchester City (opens in new tab) striker Gabriel Jesus, Bologna’s Scottish left-back Aaron Hickey and Brazilian youngster Marquinhos of Sao Paulo.
The latter, a 19-year-old winger, will be available for as little as £2.5m because Sao Paulo must sell him due to a contract issue. That means that the bulk of Mikel Arteta’s war chest will go towards deals for City striker Jesus and Scotland international Hickey.
Reports in Italy (opens in new tab) suggest that Bologna will let Hickey go for around £17-21m, which would leave around £40-44m for a Jesus bid. Hickey has excelled in Serie A this season, playing regularly under Sinisa Mihajlovic and impressing with his dynamic and positive displays from wing-back.
A natural left-back, the 19-year-old has operated mostly as a left wing-back in a 3-5-2 system, but occasionally switched to the right flank.
He has caught the eye in his second season in Italy by scoring five goals in 35 appearances – making him Bologna’s third-top scorer in the league after Marko Arnautovic and Riccardo Orsolini.
City striker Jesus has netted eight Premier League goals this season, and provided nine assists, but the Brazilian could be heading out with just one year left on his Etihad contract.
These deals would continue Arsenal’s (opens in new tab) focus on youth in the transfer market, after they spent a record £142m on Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Tokonga last summer.
Jesus is the oldest of the three targets, having recently turned 25, while teenagers Hickey and Marquinhos have even more years ahead of them.
More Arsenal stories
The rumour mill is going into overdrive over who Arsenal will bring in to fill the centre-forward spot in the team next season. Tammy Abraham has been heavily linked since last summer with those whispers refusing to go away, Ivan Toney has entered the frame as an option, while "the new Thierry Henry" has been touted.
Gabriel Jesus is a big rumour doing the rounds right now, as is Darwin Nunez, who Manchester United are reportedly closer to signing. Another Brazilian wonderkid is also apparently in talks.
Elsewhere at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta has spoken openly over his doubts taking the Gunners job and Vagner Love has chatted exclusively to FFT about the move to Arsenal under Wenger that very nearly happened for him in the noughties.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.
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