Arsenal may have received fresh hope in their pursuit of Kepa Arrizabalga, as Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is reluctant to sign him.
Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Arrizabalaga was reportedly on the verge of joining Real Madrid. Arsenal had been linked but looked set to miss out to the Spanish giants.
However, recent comments from Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane suggest the signing isn’t as close as first reported.
“As a coach, I don’t need a goalkeeper at the moment. If that changes by June or if we sit down and talk about it, we may sign players in certain positions,” he said, reports Marca. “In two years, no player has arrived in that position and [in June] we can discuss it.”
According to Sport, Zidane is fearful that his son Luca would fall down the pecking order if Madrid signed a new keeper. His reluctance could give an opening to Arsenal.
Arrizabalga is out of contract in the summer and could talk with the Gunners this month. The 23-year-old could be a good long-term replacement for Petr Cech.
Zidane has since clarified his comments, saying that he was only putting faith in his current players, adding: “I’m annoyed by the comments that have been made about the club and myself in this situation.”
“I’m never going to try to put any pressure on my president, who is the one who gave me this chance, or the club.”
Arrizabalaga’s move to Madrid was in doubt after medical tests discovered a foot injury. Athletic Bilbao have since confirmed that surgery will not be required.
The move could yet go ahead, but if he doesn’t go to the Bernabeu in January, Arsenal could have the chance to sign him.