Arsenal to pitch player-plus-cash deal for Sporting Lisbon’s Joelson Fernandes

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Arsenal will offer a player in part-exchange for Sporting Lisbon wonderkid Joelson Fernandes to bring down his £40m asking price.

Fernandes, who has been compared to a young Cristiano Ronaldo, is a hot property in Portugal, where he is tipped for the top.

But the Gunners will not pay the release clause in his contract and are hoping to strike a bargain for the 17-year-old.

Fernandes has been offered a new contract by Sporting but his representative Kia Joorabchian wants to engineer a move and has close links with Arsenal.

Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have also made enquiries about the left winger, but Arsenal are understood to be favourites to sign him.

The Gunners are about to bring in 32-year-old Brazil winger Willian after he left Chelsea as a free agent.

But Mikel Arteta also wants to boost the youth ranks in his squad and likes what he sees of Fernandes, who is a Portugal Under 17 international.

Arsenal will listen to offers this summer for a host of players, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny.

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But any part-exchange for Fernandes is more likely to involve a young player on the fringes of the first team squad.

The north London club have been linked with a number of players this summer, including Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

It is believed Arteta has identified Partey as a top transfer target, but Atletico are not prepared to sell him for anything less than his £45m release clause.

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That figure could be hard for Arsenal to meet, especially if they press ahead with a deal to sign Fernandes from Sporting.

Nevertheless, the Gunners could raise some cash by offloading a number of players this summer – such as Fulham target Calum Chambers.

The newly-promoted Cottagers are reportedly interested in a £12m deal to sign Chambers, which would boost Arteta’s transfer kitty.

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