The Gunners are in the market for a right-back with Bacary Sagna on the verge of completing his move to Manchester City and could move for Atletico’s Spain international
By Wayne Veysey
Arsenal are considering a move for Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran as an alternative to Toulouse’s Serge Aurier, Goal understands.
The Gunners have made a new right-back one of their main priorities as they target a replacement for Manchester City-bound Bacary Sagna.
Goal revealed last week that Arsenal have opened preliminary talks with Toulouse over a €9 million swoop for 21-year-old Aurier.
However, manager Arsene Wenger is now considering whether to go for experience over youth and is weighing up a bid for Juanfran, 29.
The Spain international has been a key figure in Atletico’s remarkable season, playing more outfield matches than any other player as they bid to add the Champions League crown to their La Liga title on Saturday night.
A deal for Aurier would be less complex for Arsenal to complete than one for Juanfran, who is regarded as one of the premier right-backs in Europe.
The Gunners have been closely monitoring possible Sagna replacements this season in the event that they could not agree a new deal with the 31-year-old.
Aurier has impressed Arsene Wenger’s scouting team with his performances for Ligue 1 side Toulouse. He has been a regular provider as well as scorer this season from his right-back role, weighing in with six goals and six assists in league matches alone.
The 21-year-old, who is a full Cote d’Ivoire international, is set to feature in the World Cup this summer and is regarded as a versatile defender who can fill in at left-back and centre-back as well as his favourite right-back role.
Wenger wants deals in place for two new players before the World Cup, even if the formalities are not completed until after the event.
Sagna has told Arsenal he will not extend his contract, which expires next month, and, as revealed by Goal, he was in Manchester on Monday for talks with City.
The Frenchman is close to agreeing a three-year deal with the Premier League champions worth £100,000-a-week plus a sizeable signing-on fee.