Arsenal close in on two pre-January deals - O'Rourke Column

By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

3rd Dec, 2023 | 8:00pm

Pete O'Rourke column: Arsenal close in on two deals, Tottenham race Brentford for Bakayoko, De Zerbi to quit Brighton for Man United?

Welcome to the latest edition of my biweekly column – bringing you exclusive transfer and contract news, as well as news from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and beyond.

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Talks are progressing nicely between Takehiro Tomiyasu and the Gunners over a new deal.

There has been interest in the Japan international from Bayern Munich, meaning Arsenal are now keen to tie him down and sort out his future as soon as possible.

I’m told Tomiyasu is happy at the club and Arsenal are confident they will agree a deal with the player – who remains a key part of Mikel Arteta’s plans.

He has performed well this season and was named the club’s Player of the Month for October despite his limited action.

The defender sees his future at Arsenal and will be offered a wage bump after signing his previous deal more than two years ago.

He is set to join Ben White in agreeing a big new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

Meanwhile, both Arsenal and Jorginho are open to parting ways at the end of this season.

The Italy international is out of contract next June and while a final decision is yet to be made, it looks like his time with the Gunners could come to an end.

The player has never hidden his desire to return to Serie A and I’m told he will have plenty of takers on a free transfer next year.

The 31-year-old was always seen as a stop-gap signing by club chiefs when he joined from Chelsea earlier this year.

Arsenal are keen to bolster their midfield options with a new defensive midfielder signing in January or next summer.



Brentford and Spurs are set to race for PSV Eindhoven winger Johan Bakayoko in January.

The 20-year-old is in huge demand across Europe and is considered one of the most promising talents around at the moment.

Brentford are long-term admirers and tried to sign him in the summer window – but were rejected by the Belgium international.

Tottenham have now added him to their list of targets, which also includes Juventus ace Samuel Iling-Junior.

Spurs’ injury problems have left them short and they want attacking reinforcements in the upcoming January window.

However, I’m told it will be a hard deal to do in January.

PSV have advanced in the Champions League and also lead the Eredivisie, meaning it is highly unlikely they will sell Bakayoko mid-season – unless they receive a crazy offer.

Sources say the Dutch giants are in a strong position to keep the winger sensation.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are in urgent need of a midfielder in January.

Rodrigo Bentancur has been sidelined with another serious injury, and Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma will both travel to the African Cup of Nations in the new year.

Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg is still wanted by Juventus following summer interest in his services, but I’m told both him and Oliver Skipp will stay put unless reinforcements can be found.

Tottenham are monitoring the situation of Man City star Kalvin Phillips, but are aware they will face massive competition for his signature from the likes of West Ham and Newcastle.



The Seagulls are ready to offer Roberto De Zerbi a new deal – and he is likely to pledge his future to the club.

He is happy on the south coast and has done a remarkable job since succeeding Graham Potter last September.

De Zerbi has been linked with Man City, Man United, Real Madrid and clubs in Italy but has no immediate plans to leave Brighton.

He is likely to pen a new and improved contract at the Amex Stadium.

However, Brighton are always open to selling their top assets and will not stand in De Zerbi’s way if he wants to leave in future – but only if their compensation demands are met.



United are yet to make a final decision on signing on-loan midfielder Sofyan Amrabat permanently.

He failed to take his chance against Galatasaray in the Champions League and club chiefs feel he is yet to show his best for the club.

I’m told Man United won’t rush into a decision but they are unlikely to trigger his buy option if he cannot force his way into Erik ten Hag’s first-choice starting eleven.

Sources say they are looking at potential defensive midfielder signings ahead of the January window – which would raise further question marks about Amrabat’s long-term future at Old Trafford.

They have already paid a loan fee of £8.5million for the midfielder and would need to give Fiorentina just over £20million to make the move permanent.



The Hoops are unlikely to bring in a big influx of signings in the January window after their Champions League exit, I’m told.

There was a big turnaround of players in the summer window and Celtic are well clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, meaning they are relaxed about their current squad as the window approaches.

Sources say that the club have the funds to make a deal happen if the right player is out there, but they are not keen to rush into any January deals.

Celtic are also set to welcome Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda back from injury in the coming weeks, which will be a big boost to manager Brendan Rodgers.