Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Moussa Sissoko, Riccardo Saponara Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2016

Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Aston Villal at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Arsenal are reportedly hoping to bolster their midfield this summer and have been linked with moves for Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko and Empoli's Riccardo Saponara.

According to Claudio Colla of TransferMarketWeb, the Magpies midfielder "is being approached" by the Gunners and could be available for "less than £10 million" following Newcastle's relegation to the Championship.

At his best, the Frenchman could be a useful player for Arsenal—a powerful player who can glide past players in the centre of the park and create opportunities for his team-mates—as he demonstrated in the Toon's 6-2 win over Norwich City, in which he bagged three assists.

However, much of his time at St. James' Park—the last two seasons in particular, with Newcastle fighting and ultimately failing to stave off the drop—has been characterised by large spells of very poor form and a perceived lack of effort.

ESPN's Marc Duffy reacted sarcastically when he inexplicably made Didier Deschamps' France squad for the upcoming UEFA European Championships:

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Earlier in the season, former Premier League footballer Don Hutchison noted the way he regularly fails to live up to his true potential (h/t the Chronicle's Mark Douglas):

The 26-year-old netted just four times last season and only once this year—returns that he'd be expected to improve on dramatically to earn game time at the Emirates Stadium.

If Sissoko were to arrive in north London and showcase his best week in, week out, he'd be an excellent addition to the squad. However, given his recent record, a team that should be prioritising players who add to the character of their dressing room this summer would perhaps be wise to avoid him. 

FLORENCE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 22: Riccardo Saponara of Empoli FC reacts during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and Empoli FC at Stadio Artemio Franchi on November 22, 2015 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Saponara could be a better option. According to Eddie Benedetti of, the playmaker is "being courted by Arsenal," as well as Juventus and Monaco, and could cost €15 million.

Per David Amoyal of the same outlet, the 24-year-old is set to leave Empoli this summer and could make it at a higher level:

According to SquawkaSaponara has netted five goals and assisted 11 in Serie A this season, as well as creating 61 further chances.

A more consistent performer than Sissoko by far, the Italian could make a strong signing as Arsenal look set to wave goodbye to midfielders Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky. 

Though he may cost more, he'd likely be less of a gamble despite Sissoko's Premier League experience and international pedigree.