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Arsenal turn attention to two defenders after securing Pepe deal

FOOTBALL By Mirror | July 29th 2019
Unai Emery is on the lookout for a new centre back [Courtesy]

Arsenal are reportedly considering turning to Juventus star Daniele Rugani to solve a potential centre back conundrum.

The Gunners appear to be going into the new Premier League season light on defensive options, with Laurent Koscielny attempting to plot a move away from the Emirates and Rob Holding set to miss the early portion of the season.

That would leave Unai Emery with Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Nacho Monreal as his centre back possibilities.

Therefore, according to Corriere Torino, the Gunners are having a look at Italian Rugani.

The 24-year-old made 20 appearances for Juve last season but appears unlikely to be a regular in Turin due to the signing of Dutch wonder-kid Matthijs de Ligt, who arrived from Ajax.

Rugani is valued at €40m although the Gunners are thinking about a loan deal - while Chelsea's interest appears to have cooled.

The Gunners are also on the chase for Celtic defender Kieran Tierney, who is a full-back but plays at centre back for national side Scotland.

Arsenal have had two bids rejected for Tierney, but Neil Lennon has admitted the club have drawn up contingency plans in case the north London club swoops.

Lennon said: "We obviously have contingency plans and have worked out other options if that worst-case scenario were to happen.

"So yes, having that extra two or three weeks later on in the window may be beneficial but as far as I'm aware there have been no (more bids)."

Meanwhile, managing director Vinai Venkatesham has dismissed reports Emery has a transfer budget of just £40m this summer.

"I don’t recognise this £40m figure, I have read it a lot. That doesn’t come from us, that doesn’t come from the club. The numbers never come from us," he said in a Q&A with Arsenal Supporters' Trust (via Arseblog).

"We never ever, ever, ever talk about how much money we have to spend because that’s the least helpful thing you can do.

"It is true that our funds are more limited after three years in the Europa League, but the budget isn’t £40m.

"We have the budget to make a difference, but this is a particularly tough window and we’re in the middle of it. I sense and understand the frustration, but there is a huge amount of misinformation out there in the market.

"I read and am sent articles about players we’re supposed to have missed out on and they’re players we’ve never even talked about. I get why sometimes it’s hard for fans to understand what we’re doing, but I’d say that’s because about 85% of what you read just isn’t true."

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