Arsenal Rumour Mill Continues With Latest Link Suggesting Keita Balde Is on Gunners Radar

Arsenal are interested in striking a deal with Monaco for Senegalese international Keita Balde, according to a report in France.

Balde joined the French side from Lazio for €30m in 2017 but has struggled to settle in Ligue 1, being farmed out on loan to Inter last season, where he scored five times in 24 appearances.

The Nerazzurri opted against activating an option to make the move permanent, citing the agreed €34m price in his loan contract as too expensive.

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Monaco are keen to sell, however, and are keen to resolve his future at the conclusion of this summer’s African Cup of Nations. Now, French publication Le10Sport state there is interest in snapping Balde up from Arsenal – even though they have been linked with several other high profile purchases.

The Gunners are in the market for reinforcements throughout their squad, but a miserly transfer budget of around £45m is hindering their progress in the transfer market. So far, they have focused their efforts on ​strengthening their defence by chasing Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, as well as William Saliba of Saint-Etienne.

They have also been credited with an interest in wantaway Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, but any potential acquisition would likely depend on big-money earners Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan being moved on.

Balde’s name can now be added to the list of supposed targets, though he too will not come cheaply – just ask Inter.

Born in Spain to Senegalese parents, Balde started his career at Barcelona’s famed youth academy, before disciplinary issues lead to him being sent to satellite side UE Cornella.

After scoring 47 goals in a single season at Cornella, he joined Lazio for €300,000 – going on to make 110 appearances in the Italian capital.

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A big money move to Monaco followed but his struggles there saw him turfed out to Inter last season, though he failed to recapture his once blistering form. He could be a player that would suit Arsenal’s old free-flowing style of football, but times have changed – and it remains to be seen whether Unai Emery’s side can afford to pursue such high profile players.

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