Transfer news mailbag: Thomas Partey’s Arsenal future, Christian Pulisic’s situation and more

We’ve done it once, so let’s do it again. The transfer window is now in full swing, with bids being rejected and clubs trying to sign key players away from other teams.

Our readers took the mailbag from earlier this week and threw a few more questions our way. We just had to get back to our writers and get some more of your questions answered.

Our experts, including David Ornstein, have found out the latest from across the transfer market. Read on to find out more.

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We had a lot of questions about Arsenal and there is one man to go to when they come up – David Ornstein. Given Arsenal’s interest in midfielders including Declan Rice, David was asked by Anonymous U: What will happen to Thomas Partey?

David Ornstein: Thomas Partey has two years left on his contract. He is 30. And if Arsenal sign Declan Rice, there is a good chance he will no longer be first choice in his position.

Both Arsenal and Partey’s camp are working on potential exit solutions should a suitable opportunity arise to sell the Ghana international. There is interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia, for example, and Arsenal are considering their options.

If he is to leave, a replacement would be needed – in addition to the pursuit of Declan Rice. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is admired but Arsenal have not prioritized him this window. Although Southampton’s Romeo Lavia has been heavily linked, there is no development on that front and he is also closely followed by other big teams.

And what about their interest in Rice, David?

Ornstein: Arsenal have made two bids for Rice now, including a club-record offer on Tuesday.

That proposal, of £75m plus a further £15m in add-ons, was rejected, but Arsenal are now closing in on the size of the fee West Ham United are aiming to command should their captain leave. Rice remains their main target this summer, with the club prioritizing midfield reinforcements.

And what about the club’s switch to Jurrien Timber?

Eagle stone: Talks are progressing positively after Athletics revealed Arsenal’s opening bid worth around £30m. This was below the price Ajax hope to get for the Dutch centre-back, but there is optimism from all sides that a deal will be struck.

Suggestions that the 22-year-old flew to London following his Nations League commitments with his national team are unconfirmed, but now his season is over he is free to travel wherever he pleases.

Ajax are seeking in the region of £50m for Timber, who has two years left on his contract at the Dutch club.

That’s not all we were asked about Arsenal, with serious interest in other players on the fringes at the Emirates Stadium. One of them is Folarin Balogun, who returns to North London after a successful season on loan in French Ligue 1. David had this to say about his future.

Ornstein: All indications are that Folarin Balogun will be sold this summer.

He is out of contract in 2025 and Athletics has reported that he has no intention of signing a new deal or going out on loan again. He will be first choice somewhere. Ideally it will be at Arsenal, but that is unlikely as they already have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

Barring an unexpected twist, they will have to find a solution that suits all parties. Teams from England, Italy, Germany and France are tracking him. If he is to go, he should generate a decent fee.


Folarin Balogun’s USMNT switch: How it happened, step by step

We had insight into Newcastle United’s business in our last postbag, and now Dominic H. has asked us: Is Allan Saint-Maximin likely to move on? So we asked Jacob Whitehead.

Jacob Whitehead: At the moment ‘probably’ is too strong a word. It is recognized internally at Newcastle that Saint-Maximin is both their most marketable asset and does not fit Eddie Howe’s style as much as other players. Selling him would free up significant funds as the club tries to stay within the bounds of financial fair play.

That said, Newcastle expect to face more low blockers next season and the hierarchy know the Frenchman offers a completely different profile to unlock such defences. There is no active desire to sell in Newcastle’s end, but they will listen to offers.

AC Milan have shown interest in previous windows (coincidentally, Newcastle have made a bid for their midfielder Sandro Tonali) but are focusing on right-sided players this summer. So far, it is believed that there have been no concrete approaches to the winger.


We are going to talk about Allan

(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ivan Toney is suspended until the start of 2024. Asad U. has asked and Jay Harris has answered the question: Are Brentford in the market for a striker? And what are the possibilities?

Jay Harris: The boring answer is that Brentford were well prepared for Ivan Toney’s suspension. They signed Kevin Schade on loan from Freiburg in January and that deal was made permanent in early June for a club-record fee of £22m, giving him six months to acclimatise to English football.

Schade is incredibly fast, versatile and has a big jump, meaning he offers coach Thomas Frank a lot of flexibility up front. With Yoane Wissa, Bryan Mbeumo and Keane Lewis-Potter also available, Brentford have various options and there is no need to panic in the summer transfer market.

They won’t be signing a direct replacement for Toney with a similar skill set, but they are always looking for exciting options to upgrade their squad, which is why they have made a £30m bid for Nottingham Forest striker Brennan Johnson. Brentford have been chasing Johnson relentlessly for years – they tried to sign him in August 2021 and came close to a deal the following January – but he would be a luxury signing.


Ambitious Brennan Johnson has his price – but it is far higher than Brentford’s £30m

This is definitely one for Tom Bogert. Jeffrey K. wants to know – is there any interest from Bundesliga teams for Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie or Christian Pulisic?

Tom Bogert: Of course, Bundesliga teams may be interested, but the finances mean that the USMNT quartet could be difficult. It is extremely difficult to compete with Premier League money.

Tyler Adams’ preference is to stay in the Premier League after Leeds United’s relegation. When Brenden Aaronson moved to former club RB Salzburg in January 2021, several Bundesliga teams were interested in signing him from the Philadelphia Union. Let’s see where the market starts to move with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie.

However, all four are expected to change clubs this summer.


USMNT summer of transfers: Where will Pulisic, Adams, Musah end up?

It was widely reported earlier this year that a high proportion of agents failed a FIFA licensing exam, says Tom G. Is there a view on how this will affect this window and beyond, and does it really matter? Dan Sheldon has the answer.

Dan Sheldon: For this summer, it won’t make a difference whether agents passed or failed the exam.

New rules limiting how much agents can earn on a transaction don’t come into effect until early October, meaning it’s business as usual until then. However, there is another exam at the end of September for those who did not pass the April session.

Some agents have considered Athletics that this summer is likely to be a race to earn notable commissions from deals, while mentioning how several clubs have started negotiations by saying they will be governed by FIFA’s cap. The only problem is that the cap – which limits agents’ earnings from a transfer to six per cent if they do not represent the selling club – has not yet been enforced.


The agents’ exam day – and why they are resisting FIFA’s crackdown plans

(Top images: Getty Images)

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