Arsenal’s hopes of landing midfielder Stephen N’Zonzi have seemingly been dealt a major blow, following the news that Roma have “secured a deal” for the former Stoke man’s signature after Crystal Palace made a formal offer for current Giallorossi regular Maxime Gonalons.
Now 29, the 6’6 defensive midfielder enjoyed a wonderful summer as part of the France team which triumphed in the 2018 World Cup, with his selection as part of Deschamps squad down to the fine form he enjoyed as part of Sevilla’s team throughout the course of the 2017/18 season.
After spending 6 years in England with the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City between 2009 and 2015, N’Zonzi was taken to Seville by current Arsenal boss Unai Emery and quickly established himself as a key member of the Spaniard’s first-team. Of course, Emery left La Liga a year after N’Zonzi’s arrival to take up the post of PSG boss but now, attacking a new challenge at The Emirates, he seems keen for a reunion with the big man.
Despite the Gunners’ interest, it looks like Roma have stolen a march on them, moving quickly to iron out the details of a deal for N’Zonzi ahead of the possible departure of Gonalons, who himself only took up residence in Rome last summer after leaving Lyon. As things stand, it looks as though Maxime himself is far from sold over the prospect of a transfer to Selhurst Park but with Roma clearly keen to bring N’Zonzi in, they may look to pressure the Frenchman into leaving before Arsenal make a bid of their own.
At first glance, some may wonder why N’Zonzi would opt for Roma over Arsenal but when you consider that the Italian’s finished in a credible 3rd place in Serie A as opposed to Arsenal’s 7th in the Premier League, it becomes easier to understand why he would favour a switch to the ancient city over the potential of a turbulent first campaign in N5 under the guidance of the newly-appointed Emery.
We may end up failing in our attempts to land Gonalons regardless but after the events of the last few days, it’s clear that our formal bid has set the wheels in motion over a deal that looks to have upset Arsenal’s plans.