Arsenal make surprise transfer decision on Dries Mertens

Arsenal reportedly decided against the purchase of Dries Mertens from Napoli during the current transfer window due to the Belgian entering the final phase of his playing career.

The Gunners have placed the emphasis on strengthening the defence this term and they have already landed the signature of Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo.

They are expected to announce the loan signing of Cedric Soares from Southampton before Friday’s deadline but it appears that they could have secured Merten’s services earlier this month.

According to The Times, the Gunners had the option of signing the 32-year-old on a cut-price deal, given his current contract with Napoli is due to expire at the end of the season.

However, Mikel Arteta’s side turned out the opportunity with the manager focused on pursuing younger players with the view to the long-term planning at the north London side.

Arsenal are unlikely to make any big-money signings on deadline day but they could secure the services of Mykola Matviyenko alongside Soares before the 11pm deadline.

Obviously, Shakhtar Donetsk are reluctant to accept a loan deal for the versatile defender without the obligation to buy for 30 million pounds but the Gunners’ board remain hopeful of sealing a temporary contract for the 23-year-old with a purchase option.

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