Arsenal Transfer News: Mohamed Elyounoussi Talks Up Rumoured Gunners Interest

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Mohamed Elyounoussi of FC Basel during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Manchester City and FC Basel at Etihad Stadium on March 7, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Mohamed Elyounoussi has talked up rumoured interest from Arsenal, with the FC Basel winger saying he's aware the Gunners have been watching him.

Elyounoussi hinted he knows a club from England's Premier League has tracked him for a while, having been impressed by his performances in the UEFA Champions League, per Callum Vurley of the Daily Star.

The Norway international talked in more detail about the prospect of Arsenal being keen: "Is it Arsenal? I can't comment, but it is a club that everybody knows with a long history. It is cool that such a big club is showing great interest. But of course I know a club like this has many players on its radar."

Elyounoussi also made it clear what Basel would expect to fetch for one of their star players: "Basel won't pick up the phone if they are offered less than £13 million for me. They say they will only start discussions if the offers are higher than that."

The player pointed out how his club can make as much as £18 million from his potential sale. Such a fee would represent a bargain for a creative attacker who could be an asset in an Arsenal squad suddenly short of width for the first time in recent years.

Arsenal offloaded their top wide players earlier this season.
Arsenal offloaded their top wide players earlier this season.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal have sold wingers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott since last summer. The latter pair joined Manchester United and Everton, respectively, during the January transfer window.

Those sales have robbed the Gunners of pace and goals from the flanks. Instead, manager Arsene Wenger's team has become even more reliant on central playmakers acting as inverted wingers.

Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have performed these roles recently, with both inclined to drift into the middle. Though they have been effective, Ozil and Mkhitaryan's central leanings mean the Gunners struggle to stretch teams on the edges, unless Wenger tasks striker Danny Welbeck with working the channels.

Even Alex Iwobi, who can carry the ball effectively past players, is an attacker more at home in central positions.

Iwobi and Ozil are among the central schemers Arsenal now rely on out wide.
Iwobi and Ozil are among the central schemers Arsenal now rely on out wide.FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

By contrast, Elyounoussi boasts the trickery and speed to tie defenders in knots out wide. He showcased those skills during Basel's recent 2-1 win away to Manchester City in the Premier League.

Elyounoussi netted the Swiss side's first goal at the Etihad Stadium to continue an impressive scoring run in Europe's top club tournament:

It was a performance watched by Arsenal scouts, according to Steve Goodman of The Sun, who added Southampton and Leicester City are keen on Elyounoussi.

Wenger and the Gunners would be wise to beat the competition. Elyounoussi would add an extra dimension to Arsenal's forward line and offer different supply for strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

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