Arsenal transfer rumor: bid for Edon Zhegrova from Lille

Arsenal have reportedly bite for Little winger Edon Zhegrova. The transfer rumor made the rounds yesterday, and the bulk of the reaction (to the extent there was a reaction at all) was “huh?” Zhegrova is a 23-year-old attacker who plays for the Kosovo national team. He joined Lille in January on a € 7M transfer from Swiss side Basel.

Normally I would not even dignify a rumor like this with a post, but it’s early July and things are slow. There is going to be speculation linking Arsenal with wingers, especially after Fabrizio Romano said on the Golazo! podcast that he believes the Gunners are working to sign a mystery winger that he did not want to name before confirming that his sources were accurate. Beyond that, it’s clear that Mikel Arteta is in the market for another attacking winger this summer, with the club still pursuing Raphinha, even though they do not look likely to sign him at this point.

I do not put any stock in this particular rumor. The source, Arlind Sadiku, is a Kosovar football journalist, so he probably has sources in Zhegrova’s (also from Kosovo) camp. Football.london cited Sadiku in a write-up of the rumor, which I suppose says something for his credibility, but I do not think it means much more than Sadiku is reputable enough to earn the professional courtesy of that kind of acknowledgment. None of the big, established Arsenal journalists have anything on the link.

To be fair, the Fabio Vieira move came completely out of left field from a non-London-based journalist, and Arsenal are said to be playing things much closer to the west this transfer window. Anything is possible, I suppose.

There is hardly enough data on Zhegrova to draw any conclusions. He played 500 some-odd minutes for Lille after joining the club in January from Swiss club Basel. He scored 11 goals in 73 appearances in the Swiss Super League. He made 13 appearances in Ligue Un, scoring two goals and adding one assist. He’s a strong, progressive dribbler, but I’d be lying if I said I remember having watched him play.

Arsenal do not have a great track record buying attacking players from Lille, see eg Nicolas Pepe and Gervinho. Fortunately, I do not think there is anything to this rumor, so the Gunners probably are not going to get burned again.

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