Soccer

Arsenal preparing Emiliano Buendia transfer bid following lengthy pursuit of Norwich star

Arsenal are poised to make an opening bid for Norwich City playmaker and long-term target Emiliano Buendia, sources have told CBS Sports.

Buendia was on the Gunners’ wish list for the January transfer market but Norwich’s refusal to sell their star player during their push for promotion to the Premier League forced Arsenal to explore alternative targets, resulting in a loan move for Martin Odegaard.

Arsenal have continued to keep a close eye on the 24-year-old, who scored 15 goals and provided 17 assists in 39 Championship games for the Canaries last season, and though a formal bid has not been made a source close to the situation has indicated that that is expected to change in the coming days. Buendia would be extremely interested in moving to the Emirates Stadium and CBS Sports revealed at the start of the January window that he would be prepared to push for that deal, though no offer materialized in that month with transfer funds severely stretched in north London.

Following a season where Arsenal can finish no higher than seventh, prolonging their exile from the Champions League, owner Stan Kroenke has indicated a willingness to back significant spending to strengthen Mikel Arteta’s squad ahead of his second full season in charge.

Norwich are under no pressure to sell having secured a return to the top flight, but director of football Stuart Webber did acknowledge that Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons, the latter another target of Arsenal’s as they search for right-backs, could be allowed to leave for a sizeable sum. “It might be that we sell one of the, let’s say one of the more in demand players, to help fund even bigger transfers,” he told local sports publication Pink Un. “But that’s us being open and honest and realistic, because we’d only sell one of them if it was right for us.

“We wouldn’t sell just to build up a transfer fund, because maybe the better value is in keeping these players right now. I wouldn’t say it is inevitable they go. I think it’s definitely possible, though. I’m not going to sit here and say they’re staying forever, because that’s not right, but knowing that a player will only ever be sold on our terms.

“If anyone wants any of those guys they are going to have to break our club transfer record ($35 million from Everton for Ben Godfrey] to even get me to answer the phone, to be honest. All three are aware of that.” 

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Arsenal remain in the dark over the future of Odegaard, on loan from Real Madrid, with doubts over the future of head coach Zinedine Zidane beyond the end of the season contributing to confusion as to what role the Norwegian playmaker will play at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I am happy here at Arsenal, we will see after the season what will happen,” Odegaard told Sky Germany earlier this week. “I’m owned by Real Madrid, so we have to speak to them. It’s important to understand what they want.”

Meanwhile sources have told CBS Sports that Willian, whose signing last summer was supposed to add the creativity Arteta wanted in the final third, wants to leave the club though there are no guarantees that he will be able to find a suitor ready to match the significant salary that he earns at the Emirates Stadium. 



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