Edu could ‘hijack’ £43m Man United transfer to offer ‘great’ Yuri Tielemans alternative to Arsenal

Arsenal have been told to focus their efforts on signing James Ward-Prowse this summer as Mikel Arteta’s interest in Youri Tielemans cools. The Leicester City midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, but Gunners business elsewhere appears to have played a part in the 25-year-old’s choice to reconsider his near-term options.

Following Porto’s confirmation that the north London side have reached an agreement to transfer Fabio Vieira on a permanent deal, Arsenal have ‘cooled down’ their interest in Tielemans, according to sky sports. The report claims that it is increasingly likely that the Belgium international will now sign a one-year contract extension at the King Power Stadium, with his current contract due to expire in 12 months.

Arteta is said to be a longtime admirer of Tielemans but, with the Gunners having agreed a £34m deal for Porto Vieira star, this interest has faded. As a result, Paul Merson has insisted his former side switch to Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse.

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In his last column for The star of the dayArsenal’s all-time player wrote: “Arsenal cannot allow West Ham to buy James Ward-Prowse. I think he is a great signing for whoever gets him. I think he is one of the best passers of the ball in England. He and Trent Alexander-Arnold see things that few other English players do. And they can vaporize it on the pitch because they have such a good range of passes.”

The 27-year-old, whose contract at St Mary’s expires in 2026, has featured 36 times for Saints in the Premier League this season, contributing directly to 15 goals from the heart of midfield. And Merson does not understand why the England international is not considered by his former team.

Merson added: “I don’t understand why Arsenal aren’t doing everything they can to try and get James Ward-Prowse out of Southampton. Arsenal need to buy experience and they would buy an experienced England international who knows the Premier League and who does. a huge difference for them. They need a player who can spray the ball from midfield.”

Ward-Prowse, which is valued at around £42.9m per CIES Football Observatory, reportedly courting interest from Manchester United of late, posing fierce competition if Edu listens to Merson. The midfielder has also been heavily praised by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in the past if Arteta needed further persuasion.

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