West Brom boss Tony Pulis has dismissed the prospect of Jonny Evans joining Arsenal, even though he believes the Northern Ireland defender still has the ability to play for an elite club.
Pre-season injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, along with Laurent Koscielny’s late return from Euro 2016 duty with France have left Arsenal short at centre-back.
Inexperienced duo Calum Chambers and Rob Holding provided patchy protection for goalkeeper Petr Cech as Arsenal were breached four times in last Sunday’s opening Premier League defeat to Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.
Along with being linked heavily to a big-money move for Valencia’s Germany international Shkodran Mustafi, ex-Manchester United player Evans has been mentioned as an alternative option to bring much-needed knowhow to Arsene Wenger’s backline.
“It’s pure speculation and it fills newspapers and TV time,” Pulis told a news conference ahead of West Brom’s meeting with Everton on Saturday.
“If Arsenal come in for Jonny we will do it between the clubs. I’m not going to sit here and talk about doing a deal with anyone.
“We want him to stay with us because he’s outstanding. He was most probably our best player against Palace.”
Evans performed impressively as Northern Ireland progressed to the second round of Euro 2016 and Pulis has no doubt over the 28-year-old’s continued capabilities at the highest level.
“The thing is with Jonny, I think he could play anywhere,” he added. “He reads the game so well, never gives the ball away, has been a great addition to our squad and is well respected in the dressing room.”