Exclusive: Fabrizio Romano provides update on five potential Arsenal transfer targets in defence

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Arsenal are making Ajax defender Jurrien Timber one of their top transfer targets in defence this summer, but have other options under consideration as well.

As well as Timber and fellow centre-backs Mohamed Simakan and Edmond Tapsoba, Fabrizio Romano has written exclusively for CaughtOffside about the latest on the links between the Gunners and right-backs Joao Cancelo and Sacha Boey.

It seems that Arsenal are focusing on Timber for now, even if a deal with Ajax won’t be straightforward, so Simakan could be an alternative option, though Tapsoba is also on Tottenham’s radar and could be too expensive for this summer.

Romano has suggested, however, that things have cooled between Arsenal and Manchester City full-back Cancelo for the time being.

The Portugal international has been approached by AFC, but it seems Barcelona are the favourites for his signature this summer, while Galatasaray starlet Boey is not a concrete option, with the Arsenal links looking to be little more than rumours.

Joao Cancelo in action for Bayern Munich

“I can confirm that Arsenal have an interest in signing Jurrien Timber from Ajax – the story first broken by David Ornstein and The Athletic,” Romano said.

“This is a concrete possibility for Arsenal – Timber is top of their list of centre-back targets, along with Mohamed Simakan from RB Leipzig, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, who has also been followed by Tottenham for a long time but who is thought to be too expensive for Arsenal this summer.

“Arsenal are now working on Timber, there have been some exchanges, but there aren’t great memories for Arsenal there as they also tried to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax last summer, only to be beaten to his signature by Manchester United.

“Still, Arsenal are optimistic over Timber – he has only two years left on his contract and he’s been very clear that he won’t sign a new deal with Ajax. His priority is to leave, and he wants an experience in the Premier League. He’s tempted by Arsenal’s project, and Mikel Arteta likes him because he can play centre-back, right-back, and defensive midfield if needed – they see him as a bit of an Oleksandr Zinchenko player.

“One thing is clear, however, and that is that £30m won’t be enough to convince Ajax to sell the player. Arsenal need to continue negotiations, but he’s a top target approved by Arteta and Edu, while Simakan also remains on their list.”

He added: “In other Arsenal news, I’m aware that some fans are asking me why it’s gone a bit quiet on the Joao Cancelo story. All I can say for the time being is that Cancelo is one of the players appreciated by Arsenal, and there have been talks between the club and the player’s agent, but Barcelona are the favourites.

“I’m also not aware of anything concrete with Arsenal and Galatasaray right-back Sacha Boey, just rumours for the time being. We’ll see if Arsenal look to strengthen in that position, but for now the priority is Timber, who is versatile enough to fill in on the right if needed.”

More Stories Edmond Tapsoba Fabrizio Romano Joao Cancelo Jurrien Timber Mohamed Simakan Sacha Boey


  1. Edu gasper is the worst on transfe.. the biggest bottler… Mudryk, caicedo, decline rice and now timber… A team says 50m you bid 25€ and wait for bidding war… Then you leave and search mid player’s… Idiot

  2. Arsenal need to give the money that the team wants and not sit there expecting to get him fo half price. this is not poundland!! Also with sacha boey reportedly to be injured it is almost confirmed we wont sign him. We also are to await official confirmation for kai havertz although i believe we have him in the bag. Finally I believe we will not sign rice unless we do a swap deal as i believe he is a rip off.

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