Manchester City have distanced themselves from reports they are to make a move for Arsenal and England star Bukayo Saka. Both City and Liverpool have been linked with a grab for the winger as he moves towards the last two years of his current deal at the Emirates.
But City have poured cold water on suggestions he is heading their way, stressing they are not in the mix for the 20-year-old’s signature. That is despite Saka providing 11 goals and seven assists in 38 Premier League matches last term.
Arsenal will be confident of beating off any attention on Saka with the player’s current contract containing an option year to keep him in north London until 2024. But securing him on a new and improved deal which reflects his importance to the Mikel Arteta project has been one of Arsenal’s priorities this summer.
That deal is being negotiated now with Arsenal’s failure to reach the Champions League places complicating matters. The north Londoners will instead spend next season in the Europa League.
City, who have landed their main summer transfer target in Erling Haaland and a second striker in Julian Alvarez, remain in the market for two more players with a defensive midfielder and a left-back priorities. That’s with Fernandinho departing and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s future uncertain.
Arsenal are one of the clubs keen on the Ukrainian midfielder, who has often played in defence for Pep Guardiola, with West Ham also admirers. Brighton full-back Marc Cucurella is closing on a move to the Etihad but the two sides remain apart on a valuation for the Seagulls’ Player of the Year.
City are believed to feel £30m is the top side for the former Barcelona and Getafe defender. But Brighton want a considerable profit on the £15m they paid Getafe for the 23-year-old a year ago.
Guardiola said last month of City’s summer plans: “The club has a duty – not me, the club – and I know they are working on that and always thinking, I am not saying it is going to happen (more transfers) but they always have a plan to see what can happen.
“The club always has to look ahead, to view who is the next manager or staff, or if five players leave who would be the next five new players, or which players from the academy can be part of it like Phil Foden. These things have to be considered constantly.
“You can never say you have a young squad that can stay together for five years. It doesn’t happen. Situations change season by season because players want to play.
“When you have an incredible squad of a high level, players want to play and be happy. They worry they won’t play so they have to leave and be replaced. But it is my personal opinion, I have not spoken to Txiki [Begiristain], but I don’t think much will happen.”