Arsenal sent scouts to watch Oguzhan Özyakup as Besiktas played Bayern Munich, according to reports in Turkey.
Milliyet report that Besiktas were under ‘special observation’ by Arsenal in their 5-0 defeat.
They claim that Özyakup was the main target of the club’s interest.
If that’s true, then the scouts would’ve left disappointed, because the Turkish international didn’t play a single minute of the match.
Nonetheless, Arsenal weren’t to know that going into the game, and it certainly does nothing to dull speculation.
In recent weeks, reports in Turkey have suggested that Arsene Wenger is ‘almost obsessed’ with bringing his former player back to the Emirates. Özyakup spent four years with the club during his youth career.
Arsenal reportedly had a €7m bid for the 25-year-old turned down in January, as Besiktas wanted €12m.
Özyakup’s contract expires at the end of the season, so you can understand why Arsene Wenger might not be willing to pay that much for a player he could get for free in a few months.
Arsenal also had a 30% sell on clause if Besiktas decided to sell elsewhere.
There have also been suggestions that the club might want to sign Özyakup to replace Jack Wilshere.
Although these reports seemed a little far-fetched at first, rumours continue to grow that the England midfielder might not sign a new deal with Arsenal.
If that’s the case, Özyakup would make a very low cost midfield replacement.
Tuesday’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport [hardcopy] claims that the Wilshere will finally move on from North London this year.
Despite links to multiple Serie A clubs, the Italian outlet believes Wilshere will stay in his home country, which makes sense, given his family live here and plenty of Premier League clubs have shown an interest.
They write: “Wilshere will leave Arsenal and has been linked to Milan and Sampdoria, but should continue in the Premier League.”
The 25-year-old’s contract situation certainly seems to be dragging on at the moment. His current deal expires at the end of the season, and Wilshere told the media he’d spoken to Arsene Wenger about an extension back in December.
In January, Arsenal reportedly finally made him an offer. They planned to reduce the England international’s basic wage, but give him a number of performance related add-ons.
Clearly Wilshere wasn’t completely happy with the offer, because over a month later he still hasn’t signed on.
Near the start of February, rumours in the media suggested Wilshere was about to finalise terms. Again, as that hasn’t happened yet, there’s no way of knowing how true those claims were.