Premier League • England

Arsenal on cusp of first January transfer as Brazilian ace insists he’s ‘ready’ for big move; player close with two Gunners stars

Danilo celebrates after scoring for Palmeiras against Emelec in the Copa Libertadores. May 2022.

Arsenal are on the verge of making a Brazilian midfielder their first signing of the January transfer window after he revealed he is ‘ready’ to take the next step in his career.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal have enjoyed a brilliant few months, winning 12 of their 14 Premier League matches to go top of the table before the World Cup. Arsenal also topped their Europa League group by emerging victorious in five out of six matches.

Arteta has generally gone with Granit Xhaka in a central midfield role alongside Thomas Partey, with skipper Martin Odegaard operating just in front.

Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga are also in the squad and available to Arteta, should he need them. However, there are a few reasons why Arsenal could do with adding another midfielder to their ranks.

First of all, Partey often struggles with injuries. This season alone, he has missed five matches in all competitions due to a thigh problem. Add to this the ankle issue and knock he suffered last term, and it’s clear Partey cannot be relied upon for a full season, no matter how good he is.

Elneny is a reliable replacement for when Partey is in the treatment room. But he is now 30 years old and also isn’t at the level Arsenal perhaps require if they are to challenge Manchester City in the long run.

Then there is Lokonga. He was supposed to become Elneny’s long-term successor and fill in for Partey, whenever the Ghana international is injured.

However, Lokonga hasn’t had the desired impact at the Emirates and has failed to properly impress Arteta.

Arsenal eyeing up Palmeiras star

His lack of form means Arsenal are still on the hunt for a new midfielder. And they could land a player from the Brazilian top flight to improve their squad.

Reports claim Arsenal are in talks with Palmeiras over the signing of 21-year-old midfielder Danilo. The Salvador-born ace was hoping to make the Brazil squad for the World Cup after an impressive campaign. However, he didn’t quite make the cut due to fierce competition for places.

Arsenal signing Danilo in January is apparently far more likely than them bringing in Youri Tielemans from Leicester.

The Gunners could even announce Danilo’s capture before the winter transfer window opens. And now he has made a big claim about his future which seems to suggest an Arsenal switch is imminent.

During an interview with Brazilian source UOL Esporte (via Metro), Danilo claimed he is ‘ready’ to star in any division. And given the fact the Prem is the best league in the world right now, a transfer to Arsenal seems to be beckoning.

‘I’m ready’ for transfer, says Danilo

“I’m mature enough to be able to play in any competition in the world, I’m ready,” the youngster said.

“I prefer not to get involved with these transfer issues.

“I told my manager to only talk to me if it’s the right thing. Then, we sit down and talk to Palmeiras and decide what’s best for everyone.”

Danilo is refusing to speak about Arsenal in particular. But the amount of reports stating Arsenal are leading the race for him suggests he is highly likely to end up in Arteta’s squad.

And to make things even more intriguing, Danilo is already friends with two Gunners players. This comes after his maiden Brazil call-up in June.

“The call-up didn’t hurt [my form] at all,” the midfielder declared. “Being there with the best players in the world, players that I’m a fan of, really helped me.

“It was a very good experience. I made friends and I learned a lot. I also got close to [Gabriel] Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Dani Alves.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Arsenal are getting close to landing a Man Utd reject.