Former West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has urged Arsenal to complete a deal for West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans now that Manchester City have turned their attention to Aymeric Laporte. The 29-year-old has 18 months remaining on his current contract at the Hawthorns and has been heavily linked with a move out of the club.
The Gunners were given a massive boost in their negotiations by the revelation that the former Manchester United defender's current deal contains a clause that would allow him to leave for just £3m at the end of the season in the event that West Brom are relegated from the Premier League.
The Baggies are currently 19th on the table, three points adrift of safety with 20 points and would prefer to sell than allow Evans to leave on a pittance should they be relegated. The Gunners have a host of defenders to choose from at the moment, with the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal returning to full fitness.
However, Hislop believes signing Evans would give them more options as the Gunners look to build a squad this January which can finish in the top four. Arsenal have already completed the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and are pushing hard to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to replace Alexis Sanchez.
"I thought he would have gone to Manchester City," Hislop said, as quoted by the Express. "They've set their sights elsewhere to Laporte. I think this makes a lot of sense. Right now you have (Laurent) Koscielny and (Nacho) Monreal playing as the two centre halves, you've got others who can come in.
"But I think Evans gives options, allows Monreal to drift out to the left. I think it makes a lot of sense."
Alan Pardew, meanwhile, is unaware of any enquiry from the Premier League leaders or Arsenal and insists that any deal for the defender can only be concluded if an acceptable bid is made, giving them enough time to sign a replacement.
"From my point of view there is no bid so there's nothing to discuss," Pardew said, per Sky Sports.
"On the other hand, we have scenarios that are going to time out if we don't get a bid for Jonny that's acceptable for him and us.
"Jonny hasn't come and see me this week so I'm in the dark a little bit. We haven't had a phone call from another football club and that's where it stands.
"In terms of our plans to use that money if it was to come in the door, that time is ticking away and that concerns me a little bit more."