Arsenal are reportedly closing in on their first signing of the summer, with Belgian international Yannick Carrasco set to join from CSL outfit Dalian Yifang.
According to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira of Gazetta dello Sport, Premier League heavyweights Arsenal could be on the verge of completing a deal for Belgian international Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, who is keen on ending his stint with Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang.
Carrasco, 25, began his professional career with AS Monaco, but it was at Atletico Madrid where he shot to prominence, emerging as one of the most sought-after young attackers in Europe. Having joined the Rojiblancos in 2015, the Belgian racked up 124 appearances, scoring 23 goals and assisting 17 more, winning a UEFA Europa League trophy.
#Carrasco wants to return in Europe from Cina and go to #EPL. #Arsenal are in advanced talks to sign him from #DalianYifang. He was courted by #Gunners last January, but #Emery opted to sign Denis Suarez on loan, because chinese asked €30M. #transfers #AFC
— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) June 7, 2019
Carrasco surprised everyone when he left Atletico for the cash-rich Chinese Super League in February 2018, joining Dalian Yifang. The winger has done fairly well during his spell in China, bagging 14 goals and setting up 11 more in 36 matches till date. However, the 25-year-old is keen on returning to Europe again, with his family struggling to adapt to life in China.
“I want to go back to Europe,” Carrasco told Belgian publication Nieuwsblad recently. “One team is interested in me but I can’t say which one and in which league. But hopefully my team in China can help me come back to Europe.”
Arsenal have been long-term admirers of the winger, who was an ever-present in the Belgian national team that finished third in last year’s FIFA World Cup. The Gunners’ manager Unai Emery was keen on signing Carrasco in January, but the deal fell through as his club demanded a €30 million transfer fee. Instead Arsenal brought in Denis Suarez on loan from Barcelona.
However, with the Spaniard failing to make any sort of impact during his time in North London, Carrasco is back on the radars of the Arsenal management. The Gunners lack a natural out-and-out winger in their squad, which Emery has been intent on addressing ahead of the next season.
Lille’s Nicolas Pepe was Arsenal’s primary target, but they were forced to call off his pursuit as they will be operating on a limited transfer budget after missing out on Champions League football for a third consecutive season. And now, they are believed to be closing in on signing Carrasco from Dalian Yifang, with negotiations in advanced stages.
The 35-time capped Belgian international is a quality operator with plenty of experience at the top level and at 25, he has his best years still ahead of him. If Arsenal manage to pull off Carrasco’s signing, it would be the best possible way to kickstart the summer window, as they look to break into the Premier League top four next season.