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Lille president Gerard Lopez wants to sell Arsenal target Boubakary Soumare before the window shuts with Napoli’s £25 million loan-to-buy offer falling flat, according to Calciomercato.

While Mohamed Elneny deserves plenty of credit for forcing his way back into the first-team picture at the Emirates after spending the whole of last season on loan at Besiktas, it seems there’s limited shelf life on the Egyptian’s time in the middle of Mikel Arteta’s engine room.

Elneny is a reliable presence at the heart of midfield. But, with all due respect, Arsenal need better if they are to turn valiant defeats into points away to a Liverpool side who, in Arteta’s own words, are five years ahead of the Gunners regarding development.

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Arsenal’s top midfield target remains Thomas Partey but it would be a major shock if the Ghanaian powerhouse arrived in London in the next four days.

Lucas Torreira is bound for Atletico Madrid but the Arsenal outcast will be a teammate of, rather than a replacement for, Partey at the Wanda Metropolitano (ESPN).

And this is why Soumare has re-emerged on the scene.

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FootMercato suggests Arsenal have identified the France U21 international as a potential cut-price alternative to Partey.

“He can leave in the next few days,” Lille’s outspoken president Gerard Lopez told France Bleu this week, opening the door for Arsenal.

Calciomercato has now shed more light on the situation.

It says Lopez will only accept cash offers, with Napoli failing to strike a deal after making a loan-to-buy bid potentially worth £25 million.

Unlike Atletico, Lille won’t stand in Arsenal’s way. But should the north Londoners go all-out for their ‘number two’ option now or wait for their first choice to become available?

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Arsenal’s record transfer deals

  1. Nicolas Pepe

    £72 million

  2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    £56 million

  3. Alexandre Lacazette

    £52 million

  4. Thomas Partey

    45 million

  5. Mesut Ozil

    £42 million

In other news, Arteta hints he could give Arsenal player his first ever PL start against Villa