Local rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly set to battle each other for the signing of World Cup winning midfielder Steven Nzonzi.
According to a report from Italian outlet Calciomercatonews.com, AS Roma midfielder Steven Nzonzi has emerged as a potential summer transfer target for Premier League giants Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The 30-year-old Frenchman joined the Serie A outfit this past summer, in a €30 million deal from, but could be on his way out of the club in the summer, with both the North London clubs vying for his signature.
Nzonzi spent six years in England previously, having had three-year stints with Blackburn Rovers (2009-12) and Stoke City (2012-15), before he moved to Sevilla, where he established himself as a key member of the side under Unai Emery, who now happens to be the Arsenal manager.
Nzonzi won the UEFA Europa League in his debut campaign with Sevilla under Emery and went on to make 136 appearances for the Spanish club, scoring 8 goals and setting up 7 more, before moving to Rome last year, after having won the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France.
The midfielder endured a rather difficult start to life in Italy, but has slowly worked his way into Eusebio Di Francesco’s side. So far in the 2018-19 season, the 30-year-old has featured 28 times across all competitions, scoring once and assisting two more.
Arsenal are in need of additions to their midfield, with Aaron Ramsey set to join Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season, having agreed a £400,000-a-week deal with the Serie A champions. While Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira have impressed in their debut seasons, Granit Xhaka has blown hot and cold again.
So, it makes sense that the Gunners would look at Nzonzi, especially given Emery’s history with the player and his proven quality at the top level. They have also been recently linked with Ever Banega – another player who worked with Emery at Sevilla and tasted a lot of success.
Tottenham Hotspur too are seeking reinforcements in the midfield engine room, having lost powerhouse Mousa Dembele to Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou R&F last month. Victor Wanyama has continued to struggle with injuries and hardly featured this season, due to which Mauricio Pochettino has had to overwork the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks.
Nzonzi is contracted with Roma till the summer of 2022, but could be allowed to leave by the Giallorossi, as the report claims that the Serie A side are looking to infuse more youth into the squad next season. Club director Monchi does not want to sell the 30-year-old, but with his future at the club also in doubt, Nzonzi could follow him out of the club next season.
Interestingly, Monchi has been strongly linked with the sporting director’s role at Arsenal. And should the Spaniard end up reuniting with Emery at the Emirates, it would give the Gunners a big edge over Tottenham in the race for Nzonzi. It remains to be seen if the World Cup winner remains a Roma player next term or either of Arsenal or Spurs are able to snap him up in the summer.