As per Goal‘s Charles Watts, a deal to bring the Belgium international to the Emirates Stadium has been ‘put on ice’, with the Gunners said to be focusing on ‘other targets’ at present.
The report suggests that the 25-year-old would be ‘open’ to a move away from the King Power Stadium this summer should a suitable offer emerge, with Mikel Arteta and co said to have previously held discussions with the player’s representatives – although have now parked that interest for the time being.
That could open the door for the 51-cap gem – who has just a year remaining on his existing deal – to join north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, amid reported interest from Antonio Conte’s side, while a possible contract extension with the Foxes has also been mooted.
It will seemingly come as a great source of frustration for supporters that the club could potentially be set to miss out on the former Monaco man, particularly with the centre of midfield seemingly an area that needs addressing.
Persistent injuries to Thomas Partey since his £45m arrival in the summer of 2020 has frequently left Arteta short of options in the middle of the pitch, with young Albert Sambi Lokonga also failing to earn a regular role last term, making just 12 Premier League starts in his debut campaign at the club.
That largely left the Gunners boss reliant on the midfield pairing of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in the final weeks and months of the season, although the former remains an infuriating asset at times due to his dismal suspension record, while the latter man is seemingly just a useful squad player.
The pending addition of Porto’s Fabio Vieira has added increased quality and competition to the attacking midfield ranks, although there will no doubt be concern that sporting director Edu could potentially be overlooking the problems further back, amid suggestions that the 22-year-old may be their only midfield capture.
In Tielemans, the club would be able to add a player who provides both quality in possession and defensive nous, with the £49.5m-rated star having scored six goals and provided four assists in 32 league outings last term from his deep-lying role, while also chipping in with 1.1 clearances and 2.3 tackles per game.
Equally, the £120k-per-week maestro also compares favourably to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for his ball-playing quality, ranking in the top 12% for progressive passes and the top 17% for attempted passes, while also proving himself a threat in the final third as he ranks in the top 6% for total shots.
Such an all-round talent is rare to find – particularly for a reported fee of around just £30m – with Arsenal risking the wrath of their supporters should they opt against a move this summer.
The hope will be that this is simply a pause to proceedings, rather than the total end to negotiations.