Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may be one step closer to solving his goalkeeping conundrum after being offered the services of Alphonse Areola on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
The Gunners’ current back-up goalkeeper is Emiliano Martinez, whose solid displays while No1 Bernd Leno was injured helped guide Arsenal to FA Cup glory last season.
Martinez harbours ambitions of continuing as Arteta’s first-choice in the upcoming season but is also the subject of strong interest from Aston Villa, who have tabled a second bid for the Argentine.
The improved offer is believed to be close to Arsenal’s £20million valuation of the 28-year-old, who would be assured of regular first-team minutes at Villa Park in the absence of injured shot-stopper Tom Heaton.
However, Martinez’s sale rests on Arteta finding a suitable replacement and his search has so far been fruitless.
The Gunners boss is keen on Brentford’s David Raya, who shared the Championship Golden Glove award thanks to his 16 clean sheets last season.
Raya may also favour a move to the Emirates as it would see him link up with former Bees goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana, who joined Arsenal last December.
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But little progress has been made in Arsenal’s pursuit of the Spaniard. Brentford are intent on keeping their star and the failure to strike a deal may end any hopes of Martinez joining Villa.
Areola’s availability, however, may hold the key to Arsenal’s goalkeeping puzzle. Should the Gunners take up PSG’s offer of loaning the France goalkeeper for the season, it would allow them to cash in on Villa’s near-£20million offer for Martinez.
World Cup winner Areola, 27, would provide Arteta with back-up option with experience of winning titles in France and Spain.
Meanwhile, the sale of Martinez may increase the Gunners’ transfer funds as they continue to weigh up tabling bids for midfielders Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey.
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