Arsenal’s chances of Kounde deal as Gabriel and Timber give Arteta a headache

Arsenal are not likely to sign Jules Kounde as a replacement for Jurrien Timber this summer, according to reports. Mikel Arteta is open to defensive reinforcement but a deal for the Barcelona star appears to be far-fetched.

Arsenal lost Timber on the opening day of the Premier League season to an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury. The Dutchman is likely to miss much of the campaign with the problem.

Arteta only signed Timber in July, bringing him in from Ajax for a fee of up to £38million. He was set to be a part of a new-look Gunners defence, which has seen Gabriel dropped for the opening two games against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace and linked with an exit of his own.

Arteta now has to look for alternative options to Timber, with Takehiro Tomiyasu given the nod to start at Palace. The Japan star did well until he was sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.

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With the transfer window still open, Arsenal are considering their options in the market. Kounde has long been linked with the Gunners and recent reports have again suggested him as a potential target.

But Fabrizio Romano says there is currently no plan for Kounde to leave Barcelona. Writing in his column for Caught Offside, Romano says Barca boss Xavi is happy with Kounde and wants to keep him at the club.

It is also stated that it would take a huge offer to prise Kounde away from the La Liga giants. He only moved to the Nou Camp last summer for a fee of around £42m plus add-ons and still has four years remaining on his contract.

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Kounde has already featured 42 times for Barca, helping them win their first La Liga title since 2019 last season. There were reports in May that he was unhappy at the club and was keen to leave.

However, Xavi moved to dismiss that speculation and outlined Kounde’s importance to the team. Xavi said: “Once again, with Kounde there is not and there has not been any problem. He’s a fundamental piece of our team.

“Jules is a top professional, we’re very happy with him. I don’t understand why in the media people report that there are problems. No issues, at all.

“I spoke to him, yes, we were happy and everything was clear. I don’t see any problems. We both came out of the meeting happy.”

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