Jonathan David to Arsenal transfer: Verdict already given on Gunners, Lille stance, £46m claim

Jonathan David has been lined with Arsenal ahead of the summer transfer window.

Reported Arsenal target Jonathan David is understood to be keen on sealing an exit from French outfit Lille this summer.

According to an update from Sky Sports Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg, the striker is eager to seek a fresh challenge elsewhere come the end of the season - a situation that could alert the Gunners to his potential availability.

Mikel Arteta’s side parted company with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, leaving them with just Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette as out-and-out striking options. To further complicate the matter, both of those players are approaching the end of their current deals in north London, with no indication yet that either will agree to extensions.

As such, the signing of a new centre-forward looks like a high priority for Arsenal this summer, and David’s desire to leave Lille could convince the Gunners to turn their attentions to the 22-year-old.

Will David leave Lille this summer?

The early signs would suggest that it is a distinct possibility.

Plettenberg’s update on the matter is fairly unequivocal in its assessment of his future, stating that the player “wants to leave” France at the end of the season.

Whether or not Lille would be willing to acquiesce to his exit remains to be seen, however.

For one thing, David’s current contract isn’t set to expire until 2025, and there’s no hard and fast release clause written into his deal either.

But Plettenberg claims that club sources are of the opinion that Lille would be willing to entertain offers of around £37-46 million for the Canada international.

Who else is interested in David?

Arsenal are not the only English side who have linked with David in recent months.

Newly-moneyed Newcastle United have been widely touted as admirers of the player, although Plettenberg has made it abundantly clear that the Toon Army are yet to make contact with Lille over a potential transfer.

The Gunners could hold the advantage over Eddie Howe’s men in the race for the forward’s signature too, with the understanding being that he would prefer to move to a club who can offer him the prospect of Champions League football. As things stand, Arsenal are two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League, but also hold three games in hand over their rivals.

In another boost to the Gunners’ hopes of landing David, it is understood that Lille’s £46 million valuation could render him too expensive for any potential suitors in the Bundesliga.

What has David said?

While David has failed to address to prospect of joining Arsenal directly, there have been hints from both the player and his representatives that he is an admirer of both the Gunners and the Premier League in general.

Speaking back in December, David’s agent, Nick Mavromaras, said: “I think the Premier League is a good option for him. I think that he likes Spain a lot also because he likes the feeling of the ball and the very technical players.

“These two leagues are a big priority for him, but nothing is excluded. You never know what could happen with PSG or the big Italian clubs.”

For his part, David has spoken openly about his memories of watching the Gunners during his childhood back in Canada.

He recently told L’Equipe, via football.london: “I watched Barca a lot, and Arsene Wenger ’s Arsenal, with Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.”