Juventus are plotting an audacious swap deal involving Gabriel Martinelli and a player Arsenal sought to sign in January, per a report.
The Gunners are known to be on the hunt for new forwards this summer. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was never replaced upon leaving for Barcelona in January. Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, meanwhile, will become free agents on June 30.
Nketiah’s late-season surge could result in a last-ditch contract extension. That scenario, above all others, now seems the most probable for the 23-year-old.
Regardless, Mikel Arteta cannot enter the new campaign with such a dearth of options and losing Gabriel Martinelli would amplify their problems in the final third.
Yet according to Italian outlet Calciomercato, that’s exactly what Juventus will attempt to do very shortly. To help twist Arsenal’s arm, Juve are reportedly prepared to add Arthur Melo into the mix to sweeten the deal.
The Gunners chased the Brazilian in the winter window when on the hunt for reinforcements in central midfield. An 18-month loan was proposed, though the move broke down with Arsenal preferring a six-month stay.
Arsenal remain in need of additions in the middle of the park. The latest names to be linked with a switch are Youri Tielemans, Fabian Ruiz and Ruben Neves.
Wolves are reportedly on the verge of signing a £20m-rated midfielder which could accelerate a Neves exit. Yet the prospect of adding further depth in the form of Arthur could appeal.
Arteta still keen on Arthur
Juventus will certainly be hoping so, with the Mirror adding Arteta remains keen on signing Arthur.
Juventus are facing their own issues in forwards department. Paulo Dybala is leaving for free, while they reportedly have doubts over loan pair Alvaro Morata and Moise Kean.
Their Martinelli interest is therefore understandable, with the Brazilian taking a giant leap forward last season.
The 20-year-old produced a series of unstoppable displays in the second half of the season specifically. He bagged six goals and six assists and made the left wing role his own.
Obviously, any Arthur-Martinelli swap would also need to include a hefty transfer fee from Juventus’ end. However, the reports do not speculate as to how much Juve would offer.
Would Arsenal really consider selling Martinelli?
Swap deals are often touted, though very rarely do they actually pan out. Arthur has been deemed surplus to requirements in Turin and the Italian report indicated Arsenal are the only club to show significant interest.
That would lessen Juventus’ bargaining power, meaning they’d have to cough up a significant fee to make the deal work.
Regardless, there is no indication Arsenal have anything but a strong desire to retain Martinelli anyway.
He was unplayable at times down the left wing and the prospect of moving him centrally has been floated. Calciomercato noted Juventus’ interest in fellow Arsenal stars Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey. Though that pair are just as important to Arteta as Martinelli is.
A swap deal – even including Arthur to fill a position of need – looks a non-starter in our eyes.