Arsenal have reportedly joined the race to sign Radja Nainggolan, also a summer target for Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.
According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal have joined the long list of suitors that are set to vie for Radja Nainggolan’s signature in the summer transfer window. The AS Roma midfielder is also being courted by the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, both of whom hold long-standing interests in him.
Nainggolan has steadily grown in stature over the course of a 12-year senior career in Italy. The player has truly come into his own in the last four years though, since joining AS Roma from Cagliari, establishing himself as one of the best enforcers in the game.
A mainstay in midfield for the Giallorossi, Nainggolan has made 38 appearances across all competitions in Eusebio Di Francesco’s side, with a decent record of four goals and nine assists to show for his efforts. But, his future is mired in uncertainty, with widespread interest from the Premier League – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are keen on signing him.
At Manchester United, Jose Mourinho is preparing for the retirement of Michael Carrick with Marouane Fellaini also rumoured to be on the exit trail. The manager has already iterated that the club would be in the market for at least one midfielder this summer, as a result.
While Nainggolan won’t be a like-for-like replacement for Carrick, his addition could help bring the best out of Paul Pogba, who could get a free role in midfield. But, Manchester United do not face a free run in pursuit of the 29-year-old, with Chelsea another long-time suitor.
The Blues reinforced their midfield in the last two transfer windows, signing the likes of Ross Barkley, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater. But, none of the players have managed to stamp their authority in the middle of the park, with Drinkwater already linked with a move away from Chelsea.
While Bakayoko continues to remain highly rated, Nainggolan could be a stopgap solution for the French midfielder to continue developing and take over when he eventually leaves after a likely short-term spell. Meanwhile, Arsenal are the latest club to join Manchester United and Chelsea in the player’s pursuit.
The Gunners have had a tremendous fall from grace in recent seasons, with a second successive finish outside the top four beckoning this term. But, with Arsene Wenger calling it quits, a new Arsenal era is set to be ushered in this summer.
Luis Enrique is believed to be the favourite to replace Wenger, and the former Barcelona manager is keen on signing a midfielder, with Nainggolan his priority target. Indeed, Arsenal lack a player who can bring a physical element in the middle, with the likes of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere known more for their abilities on the ball.
Nainggolan is, thus, a viable target for Arsenal, who could jump into the lead ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United in his pursuit. The player recently claimed that he is inclined towards joining a “less-favoured team” instead of one for which winning is too easy.
But, the 29-year-old won’t come cheap, with AS Roma slapping a £45 million price tag on him. The figure isn’t too restrictive by modern standards, and none of the clubs should be hindered in their pursuit of the player.
It now remains to be seen which club Nainggolan chooses as his next destination, if he indeed moves away from Roma in the summer. But, Arsenal’s emergence as a suitor alongside Chelsea and Manchester United certainly spices things up, with a new project on the horizon at Emirates.