Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Franck Kessie and Wojciech Szczesny

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2016

PESCARA, ITALY - OCTOBER 26: Franck Kessie of Atalanta BC in action during the Serie A match between Pescara Calcio and Atalanta BC at Adriatico Stadium on October 26, 2016 in Pescara, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Juventus are reportedly closing in on a deal to sign Arsenal target Franck Kessie from Atalanta.

That's according to Alfredo Pedulla (h/t Lorenzo Bettoni of Calciomercato.com), who has suggested the player's representatives met with officials from Juventus on Wednesday to discuss a deal. Despite links to the Gunners, Liverpool and Chelsea, the 19-year-old is said to have given the nod to the Italian champions.

It's suggested the teenager will cost a minimum of €20 million (£17 million), although Juve are said to be hopeful of negotiating a lower fee by allowing Kessie to spend the rest of the season on loan at Atalanta.

The teenager has emerged as one of the most exciting young prospects in Italian football this season, turning in a string of authoritative displays. Here is a look at some of his best moments of the campaign:

Aside from his powerful running, intelligent passing and unrelenting energy, what's impressed when it comes to Kessie is his ability to make vital contributions in the attacking section of the pitch. These numbers from Squawka Football put his early season displays into context:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Most goals by U-21 players in Europe's top 5 leagues this season: Franck Kessie (5) Sandro Ramirez (5) Timo Werner (5) Thomas Lemar (5) https://t.co/G99XtARduU

The midfield positions are areas both Juventus and Arsenal are well stocked in, so it'd be difficult to see the Ivory Coast international becoming an immediate first-team player if he moved to either. With that in mind, a potential move back to Atalanta on loan seems to be sensible for the youngster.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Gunners are to be without Santi Cazorla for the next three months of the season, per BBC Sport, and subsequently, it would be no great surprise to see manager Arsene Wenger delve into the market to bolster his options in this area. However, Kessie isn't ready to be the driving force behind a team pushing for the title.


Wojciech Szczesny Talks Gunners Future

ROME, ITALY - AUGUST 20:  AS Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny gestures'nduring the Serie A match between AS Roma and Udinese Calcio at Olimpico Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has insisted he's not thinking about any potential future at Arsenal for the time being.

"I don't look that far into the future," he told Corriere dello Sport (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness). "If I start thinking about July 2017, I won't be concentrating on what I have to do now. Therefore, I prefer to live in the present."

The on-loan Arsenal man is into his second season at the Stadio Olimpico, and with Petr Cech performing tremendously between the sticks at Emirates Stadium, the first-team jersey doesn't look likely to be up for grabs anytime soon. David Ospina is doing a fine job as deputy, too.

Cech and Ospina have the goalkeeping positions nailed down at the Emirates.
Cech and Ospina have the goalkeeping positions nailed down at the Emirates.GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

As noted by Coast, Wenger has made it clear in the past that he does envisage a future for Szczesny at the club. 

During his time in the Italian capital, the Poland international has had some ups and downs, although in the main, he's performed to a strong standard. These numbers from WhoScored.com point to his fine shot-stopping skills:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Wojciech Szczesny: Only Federico Marchetti (47) has made more saves from shots outside the box in Serie A in 2016 than @13Szczesny13 (46) https://t.co/8OVcfSQfYr

When he was with Arsenal, Szczesny was a popular figure with fans and team-mates, although far too frequently his erraticism between the sticks would let the side down. With Cech's assurance and experience underpinning the current crop, all tied to the Gunners have a bit less to worry about.

Szczesny would surely love to return to Arsenal and make a success of himself. However, if the path to the first team remains blocked, a move to a club of Roma's calibre would be an excellent consolation.


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