Arsenal reportedly switch focus away from Youri Tielemans

Leicester City

Youri Tielemans of Leicester City (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

Leicester City’s chances of holding onto Youri Tielemans have been handed a significant boost. Yet, as always, that outcome only applies if speculation is to be believed.

Reports are emerging which suggest frontrunners Arsenal have set their sights on alternative acquisitions. According to the Mirror, significantly more money has been handed to Mikel Arteta to sign a midfielder, meaning the options the Gunners can explore are much broader than just the Belgian maestro.

The newspaper reported this week that Arsenal will wrestle with AC Milan to secure the services of Lens middleman Seko Fofana – no relation to Wesley – with the Ivorian international’s club stamping a price tag of £40million pound on him. Compared to Tielemans, Fofana is older at 27, and likely to be more expensive, but the analytics and talent identification professionals in the ranks at the Emirates will have seen something that justifies pursuing him.

If Fofana does team up with the North London side, he will follow Fabio Vieira, who was briefly linked with LCFC this summer. This transfer being sanctioned by the Gunners board would almost certainly mean that Tielemans remains a Leicester player until at least the summer of 2023 – if not beyond – barring a last-minute venture from another elite side.

Tielemans is contracted to the Foxes until only the end of this season. But rumours have been swirling that he may opt to sign a new one-year deal if he fails to leave the club this summer, to ensure Leicester receive a fee when he eventually departs.

However, there would be little financial incentive for the Belgian to do this, given that players negotiating with clubs over free transfers wield immense leverage. They do this by using the argument that their wages can be inflated in lieu of a bumper transfer fee.

Incidentally, Tielemans’ next fixture will be at the Emirates Stadium, as he and his Leicester City side travel to face Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal will be expecting to extend their winning start to the campaign, with the Foxes hoping to bounce back from Josh Da Silva’s crushing late equaliser last weekend.