Arsenal could be paying close attention to Spain’s World Cup Group E curtain-closer against Japan tonight for two special reasons. The Gunners have held transfer interest in an exciting Spanish duo this year and may hope Luis Enrique gives both the chance of impressing on the international stage.
Spain face Japan knowing that avoiding defeat would guarantee top spot unless Costa Rica produce the shock of the tournament so far by beating Germany or if Hansi Flick’s side replicate their mauling of the Central Americans. If the 2010 champions are cruising, Enrique could give Carlos Soler and Yeremy Pino rare minutes before the real business begins in the knockout stages.
And the pair taking to the field would catch Arsenal’s eye, with the Premier League leaders plotting swoops for the pair in recent months. Mikel Arteta is keen to bolster the club’s title challenge with attacking reinforcements, which could lead to movement in January.
Pino and Soler have emerged as attainable targets, and both would have hoped to use the World Cup to showcase their qualities on the biggest platform. The latter only joined PSG in a £17million deal in September but is already linked with an exit after starting just four Ligue 1 games and one in the Champions League group stage.
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Given the short period since his arrival, PSG likely won’t be keen on making a loss on the 25-year-old attacker, whose contract at the Parc des Princes expires in 2027. But according to French podcast France Bleu Paris, Arsenal are interested in doing a deal, reigniting interest from 2020 when he was shining at Valencia.
Soler made an impact off the bench after replacing Pedri in Spain’s World Cup opener against Costa Rica, scoring the sixth of the 7-0 thrashing. But he was an unused substitute against Germany, as Pino has been for both clashes so far.
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Arsenal reportedly tabled £33m bid for the 20-year-old winger in the summer after an impressive 2021/22 season, in which he registered six goals and four assists in all competitions. And in August, then-Villarreal boss Unai Emery admitted Pino would have to leave if a suitable offer arrived, despite his £67m release clause.
Arsenal could re-enter the frame in January, but Arteta and Edu will likely be interested in seeing him given an opportunity to flaunt his talents against Japan.
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