Premier League • England

Arsenal among five big hitters chasing Celtic’s ‘brightest jewel’ amid surprise valuation, as Postecoglou faces crunch call

Arsenal chief Edu and manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal must overcome heavyweight competition if they’re to complete a bargain deal for a Celtic midfielder branded their ‘brightest jewel’.

Arsenal’s transfer policy in recent windows has been geared towards signing hungry young players who’ll spend the prime years of their career at the Emirates.

With the exception of back-up goalkeeper Matt Turner, every player they’ve signed outright since the beginning of last season has been aged 25 or under.

Their trust in youth is paying dividends already. Despite boasting the youngest average squad age (23.7) this season, the Gunners top the table having won nine of their first 10 Premier League matches.

To keep the good times rolling, Arsenal will continue to secure their future when the time comes in the market.

According to Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb, they’re looking to do just that with Celtic’s Rocco Vata.

The 17-year-old midfielder is the son of former Hoops defender, Rudi Vata. Rudi played for Celtic between 1993-97 and his son, Rocco, is currently in their youth ranks.

Rocco operates in an attacking midfield role and has been called up to first-team training with the senior side on multiple occasions.

He represents Ireland at international level and across various youth levels, has scored six goals in 17 matches for Celtic  this season.

The Italian report focuses on three Serie A clubs chasing Vata – Roma, Juventus and AC Milan. However, they also stress Arsenal and Man City are in the mix too.

Rocco Vata valuation a tempter

Vata is reportedly valued at just €2m (approx £1.73m) – a figure that would surely represent a gamble worth taking given the stature of clubs that like what they see.

Vata signed his first professional contract with Celtic in July of 2021. His deal doesn’t expire until 2024, and per the report, Celtic hope they can retain him potentially even longer than that.

Indeed, it’s stressed Celtic have ‘no intention’ of selling their academy starlet who is branded their ‘brightest jewel’.

Manager Ange Postecoglou is understood to be behind that firm stance. However, Celtic will always be vulnerable in the market to those south of the border and from on the continent.

As such, the Australian manager may deem it necessary to fast-track Vata into his first-team plans to placate the player. Doing so would reportedly be against his better judgement right now.

He did something similar with winger Ben Doak last season, though even that wasn’t enough to stop Liverpool pouncing in the summer.

If the Italian report is accurate, Arsenal or Man City could walk that same path for Rocco Vata.

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