Arsenal one step ahead of rivals after ‘holding talks’ for Vitor Roque

Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal v Brentford

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Arsenal are reportedly trying to steal a march on their rivals by opening transfer talks for wonderkid Vitor Roque. A host of top European sides are linked with the 17-year-old, who already has plenty of senior football under his belt in Brazil. 

Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Barcelona are also thought to be among those keeping tabs on Roque. The diminutive forward signed his first professional contract at the age of 16 and was phased into the Cruzeiro first team shortly afterwards. 

Making the jump up to the Brazilian top-flight last year, Roque has been a regular starter for Athletico Paranense. He boasts seven goal contributions in 29 league appearances for his current club – an impressive accomplishment given that his 18th birthday is not until later this month. 

Naturally, Roque managing to hold his own at senior level has alerted a number of top sides, and UOL claim that Arsenal have started ‘exploratory contacts’ to find out whether a move will be possible for the teenager. 

Manager Mikel Arteta is said to have approved of the transfer pursuit, with Gunners sporting director Edu following Roque’s development closely. The forward recently shone on the international stage, finishing as joint-top-scorer at the South American U20 Championships with Brazil. 

Roque and his Selecao team-mate – Chelsea new boy Andrey Santos – finished with six goals apiece as Brazil romped to tournament victory. Athletico Paranense are thought to be holding out for a fee in excess of £35million. 

Man Utd turn to ‘specialists’ to assess Greenwood as interview planned

Harry Kane sent sobering Man Utd warning as Tottenham decision looms
Chelsea have Joao Felix belief after devising ‘summer transfer plan’

West Ham supposedly offered to pay £12.5m, plus bonuses, in the January transfer window, but they were knocked back without a second thought by the Brazilian outfit. Paranense are under no immediate pressure to sell, with Roque’s contract, which is due to run until 2027, containing an £89m release clause. 

Gunners boss Arteta already has a striker dilemma, with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah vying for one starting spot up front. The latter has impressed during the former’s injury absence, with supporters waiting patiently to discover whether or not he has done enough to keep Jesus out of the team. 

Another complicating factor could be thrown into the mix at the end of the season, with Folarin Balogun due to return from his fruitful loan stint at Reims. The 21-year-old is currently ahead of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar as he leads the scoring Ligue 1 scoring charts with 15 goals in 22 games. 

It remains to be seen where Roque fits into the mix, or whether Arsenal will even be given that dilemma by beating their rivals to the youngster’s signature. Gabriel Martinelli’s success at the Emirates could help their pulling power, with the winger now a stalwart of the starting XI after signing from the Brazilian fourth division in 2019. 

Source: Read Full Article