As the transfer window starts to swing closed, all the talk is about West Brom defender Jonny Evans. Days ago, his transfer to Manchester City seemed a foregone conclusion, but with Shkodran Mustafi looking increasingly likely to be bound for either Inter Milan or Juventus, Evans could be exactly what the Gunners need to strengthen their defence – something that clearly needs to happen if they are to stop haemorrhaging goals as they did in the recent fixture against Liverpool and Leicester.
West Brom have already turned down offers from Leicester and Manchester City and are clearly in no hurry to part company with the former Manchester United star, having made him captain for this year. He has made no secret of the fact that he is seeking a move to a bigger club, and reports across the back pages suggested a £30 million move to Manchester City was all but agreed.
The latest rumours, however, are that the move is contingent on City moving France defender Eliaquim Mangala on to a new club – possibly even to West Brom as part of the deal.
While the debate and conjecture rages, sources close to the Arsenal inner sanctum predict that Arsense Wenger is poised to join the fray, and make a move for the star defender himself. It is well known that he admires Evans, and he came close to bidding on him last summer.
The view from the bookmakers
If you want to get the best idea of what is going to happen in the days and hours leading up to the end of deadline day, the best person to ask is a bookmaker. As the season gets underway, there is still time to wager a few pounds on those last minute transfers, and you can place all football bets here.
So what is their view on the fate of Evans?
The consensus is that a move to City is still the most likely outcome, at 8/13 on, but odds of a move to Arsenal have been slashed over the past couple of days to 3/1, and this is now tipped as more probable than a further year at West Brom, for which 7/2 odds are available.
Evans remains tight lipped
As is invariably the case, the man at the centre of the debate is playing his cards close to his chest. Writing in the match day programme for their recent fixture against Stoke, he told fans: “All I’ve been concentrating on is getting fit and getting back out on the pitch and doing my bit for the team. Until anybody tells me different, I’m only committed to Albion. It’s a great club and I’m proud to be captain.”
Evans joined West Brom from Manchester United in an £8 million deal back in 2015, having been with the Red Devils since being scouted at the age of 18 in 2006. He has also made more than 50 international appearances for Northern Ireland, the most recent in their 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over Azerbaijan in June.