Joachim Andersen Says 'Maybe It's Time to Move On' Amid Arsenal Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Joachim Andersen of Sampdoria during the Pre-Season Friendly between Fulham v Sampdoria at the  EBB Stadium on August 1, 2018 in Aldershot, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Arsenal's chances of securing a deal for Joachim Andersen this summer have received a boost after the Sampdoria centre-back said he may be ready for a move.

Andersen, who is rumoured transfer target of both the Gunners and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, addressed his possible next move, per Goal's Robin Bairner:

"It could be time for me to further my career. I have loved my time in Sampdoria—the fans, the president, the staff, the players, the city—but maybe it's time to move on to develop further. There are a number of interested clubs from Europe's biggest leagues who are discussing with my agent, and I'll be making a decision shortly together with my family and my agent."

The Denmark international's reference to interest from across the continent is telling. Aside from Arsenal and Spurs, Bairner credited Ligue 1 side Lyon as being keen on the defender.

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Meanwhile, Rich Jones of the Daily Mirror noted how Andersen "has also been tipped to follow manager Marco Giampaolo to AC Milan."

Wherever he ends up, Andersen told Bairner "it's very important" his current club is well-compensated for letting him leave. The idea of Sampdoria receiving an ample fee for Andersen could rule Arsenal out of the running, since the Gunners reportedly only have around £40 million to spend before player sales during this window, as Metro noted.

It's a figure that already appears to have impacted Arsenal's pursuit of Andersen:

Even so, Arsenal's need for reinforcements at the heart of defence is obvious. Head coach Unai Emery saw his unit concede 51 goals during the 2018/19 Premier League season.

The Gunners were also hit for four more when losing the UEFA Europa League final to London rivals Chelsea. Failures at the back in both competitions are why Arsenal face a third-straight season without UEFA Champions League football.

Andersen would give Emery a combative centre-back, but one defined as much by his quality on the ball as his aggression off it.

Still just 23, Andersen would represent an immediate upgrade over mistake-prone Shkodran Mustafi. He would also refresh a group where 31-year-old Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny, 33, still patrol the middle.

The latter could be available for transfer this summer, with Arsenal wanting £10.6 million for the former FC Lorient man, according to Paul Brown of the Daily Star.

Arsenal are already working on getting younger across defence, with reports from L'Equipe (h/t Get French Football News) detailing work toward a potential deal for 18-year-old Saint-Etienne star William Saliba:

Securing Andersen for the short-term and Saliba for the future would help solve a frailty in defence that's blighted the Gunners for too long. While the budget is a concern, Andersen's willingness to move on has to encourage Arsenal and other interested parties to keep discussions with Sampdoria going.   

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