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Jonny Evans leads the list of Arsenal transfer targets

By Jack De Menezes

Published 01/08/2016

In demand: Jonny Evans’ form at Euro 2016 has alerted Arsene Wenger
In demand: Jonny Evans’ form at Euro 2016 has alerted Arsene Wenger

Arsenal are set to launch a £15m bid for Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans following confirmation of a lengthy spell on the sidelines for Per Mertesacker.

The German underwent knee surgery after picking up an injury in last month's pre-season friendly with Lens and will not play again till the New Year. Gunners coach Arsene Wenger sees West Bromwich Albion man Evans as an ideal stand-in.

The former Manchester United defender - who moved to the Hawthorns for £8m last August - impressed as Northern Ireland enjoyed a run to the last 16 of the European Championship this summer, while also starring for his Baggies side last season.

Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi and Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli have also been heavily linked with Arsenal in recent days and, as transfer talk intensifies, Wenger has echoed Jurgen Klopp's criticism of Manchester United's £112m move for Paul Pogba after the Gunners manager labelled the imminent world record transfer "completely crazy".

Liverpool boss Klopp claimed during the week that the football he loves is a team game and insisted that spending a nine-figure sum on one single player, no matter how talented, was not a game he wanted to be part of.

Wenger followed suit after being asked about United's offer for a player they allowed to leave four years ago for just £800,000 and, while he accepted that United have the financial backing to spend such fees, he stressed that the outside world will be unable to comprehend how one player can cost so much money.

"It is completely crazy if you cannot afford to pay it. If you can afford to pay it you can justify it," Wenger  said.

"It is completely crazy if you compare it to normal life. That is for sure. But we live in a world where every activity that is worldwide makes a lot of money.

"Football has become a worldwide competition and that is why clubs can afford to do it. Does it make sense in the way the player can give you that investment back? Nobody ever could calculate.

"Since I am in this sport I always thought the record cannot go higher and I was always wrong. Maybe in a few years it will be £200m, £300m, who knows."

Wenger's criticism comes just days after Klopp hit out at United and other clubs who spend such fees instead of building teams, as is his desire.

"If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney," Liverpool manager Klopp said.

"The day that this is football, I'm not in a job anymore, because the game is about playing together.

"That is how everybody in football understands it. You always want to have the best, but building the group is necessary to be successful.

"Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently.

"I would even do it differently if I could spend that money. I don't know exactly how much money we could spend because nobody has told me, 'No, you can't do this.'

"If I spend money, it is because I am trying to build a team, a real team. Barcelona did it. You can win championships, you can win titles, but there is a manner in which you want it."

Belfast Telegraph

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