Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reportedly spoken to Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic about a potential future transfer to the Emirates Stadium.
That's according to Emanuele Giulianelli of the Sun, who has suggested that the Gunners boss has received encouragement from the playmaker about moving to the capital club. Wenger reportedly views Pjanic as a long-term replacement for midfield linchpin Santi Cazorla.
"Although the January transfer window may seem too soon for a move to materialise, the Gunners are set to test the waters by submitting a £28 million offer," Giulianelli wrote.
Pjanic has only recently moved to Juventus, signing from Serie A rivals AS Roma in the summer. Following an inconsistent start to life in Turin, the 26-year-old found his form prior to the winter break. Here's a look at some of his best moments in Bianconeri colours so far:
It’s suggested by Giulianelli that Juventus would be reluctant to move Pjanic on, especially with the Italian champions set to miss out on the signing of Axel Witsel from Zenit St. Petersburg.
Pjanic has slowly started to exert his creative influence at the heart of the Juve midfield. Whether operating in a withdrawn role, as an orthodox midfielder or even pushed up in support of a central striker, his class in possession and technical quality means he rarely fails to have an impact on the contest.
A call from Wenger would be out of character, though. Per the Daily Telegraph (via Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren), it's something the Frenchman has been strongly against in the past:
Cazorla's ability to conduct the Arsenal attack from a deep position is missed when he is not in the side, and given his advancing years and recent injury woes, it would be no surprise if the Gunners were looking for a long-term replacement for the 32-year-old.
It's unlikely to be Pjanic, though. Juve paid big money to bring him in, and he is a vital part of a team building towards a UEFA Champions League challenge.
No Jack Wilshere Contract Talks
Wenger has revealed that Arsenal are yet to begin negotiations with Jack Wilshere over a new contract with the club.
The midfielder, 25, is on loan at Bournemouth, where he is getting some important playing time under his belt after suffering injuries in recent seasons. With his contract due to expire in 2018, Wenger was recently asked whether there was any update regarding an extension.
"No, it was his birthday (on New Year's Day)," Wenger said ahead of the Gunners' clash with the Cherries on Tuesday, per John Cross of the Daily Mirror. "I sent him a message. The good news is [Wilshere] will not play (on Tuesday) but is still good enough to give any team problems."
Cross had previously reported that Wilshere is concerned he may not have a future at the Emirates Stadium, with suggestions that even if the midfielder agrees an extension, he could be moved on.
Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph thinks a new deal should have been sorted before the player went on loan:
Wilshere has been able to put some consistent performances together for an impressive Bournemouth side this season and is slowly approaching top gear. However, Arsenal are blessed with plenty of options in the middle of the park already.
Holding off on contract discussions could be an incentive from the club for Wilshere to continue upping his levels and prove he can be a key part of the squad.
If he stays focused and fit and continues performing to a high standard, the Gunners will surely want the England international around for the long term.