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Arsenal leading the race to sign Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans

Arsenal are front-runners to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans if they qualify for next season’s Champions League, The Sun reports.

The Gunners are likely to pursue a new midfielder this summer, having seen Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey miss key games this term with untimely injuries.

Partey, in particular, has struggled to stay fit over an extended period of time, and manager Mikel Arteta may want strong competition for places next season.

According to The Sun, Tielemans is the prime midfield target, and there is ‘growing confidence’ that he will be an Arsenal player if Champions League football is secured.

The Belgian star will enter the final year of his contract in July, but the Foxes are likely to hold out for around £40 million during this summer’s transfer window.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that Real Madrid could have the advantage over the Gunners if the north London club fail to finish in the Premier League top four.

Our view:

Tielemans has been a quality performer for the Foxes since his arrival from Monaco in January 2019. He has bagged 24 goals and 23 assists from 154 appearances across all competitions.

His creativity from the centre of the park is something that the Gunners have lacked. While Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have excelled together this term, they have not made much of an impact in the final third.

The same goes for Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga. Tielemans would provide an upgrade in that department. The Belgian has also impressed defensively in the league with an average of 2.1 tackles this season.

There was much talk about Xhaka leaving the club last summer, but this no longer appears the case with the Switzerland international having penned a new deal and stood out with multiple performances.

Tielemans may not necessarily come in as a replacement for the former Gunners captain. Arteta may instead want him as a strong competitor with European football offering him the chance to rotate his options.

It remains to be seen whether the Gunners can ensure qualification for the Champions League which is essential to luring him. They can go four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a win over Leeds.

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