The final week or so of the summer transfer was an interesting one when it came to the status of Simone Zaza.
Yes, the same Simone Zaza Juventus sold last summer but had a wink-wink nod-nod kind of deal with Sassuolo to bring him back 12 months later thanks to a first right of refusal clause. And the same Simone Zaza who was reportedly close to moving to West Ham United on loan with an option to buy because Juventus were thinking of allowing the 24-year-old striker seek an opportunity that allowed him more playing time.
Now there's this.
According to a report from Sky Sport Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio on Tuesday, the interesting final few days of the transfer window for Zaza almost got taken to the next level. Zaza, who has stayed at Juventus despite all the rumors about his exit, was the object of a last-minute bid from Arsenal in the attempt to bring at least one outfield player in before the transfer deadline came to a close.
Obviously it didn't happen, but it left Arsenal with this has their incoming transfer summary:
Petr Cech (GK)
Ha, that's great. There are some things that are truly Arsenal-y, but signing nothing but a goalkeeper
The best part of it all was Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici essentially going "Oh, you want Zaza, Mr. Wenger? Well then give us €30 million and we'll call it a deal. How about that?" And Arsene probably said no, then walked away all sad because he tried to get another striker to sign for the Gunners and it didn't even get off the ground.
But it's interesting that Arsenal would go from being linked to a player like Karim Benzema for most of the summer then go for somebody like Zaza in what looks like a complete panic gesture on the face of it. That's not a cheap shot at Zaza; I do think he's going to prove to be a solid player for Juventus whenever he gets the opportunity. But Benzema has been a pretty underrated piece of Real Madrid's puzzle in recent years, and to go from that to a player who's fourth or fifth on Juventus' depth chart right now? Whoa boy.
Sorry about that, Arsene. I guess you'll have to wait until next year.