Arsenal look to gazump Tottenham for €20m defender with January sale a serious possibility

Rodrigo Becao marking Ante Rebic

Arsenal are the latest Premier League club to show an interest in Udinese centre-back Rodrigo Becao, according to a report from Italy.

Top of the table by the World Cup break, Arsenal are willing to enter the transfer market in January to maintain their momentum. There are a few positions they have been tipped to strengthen. For example, they might want another midfielder and winger to ease the burdens on Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka respectively.

But another position they might want another body in is centre-back. So far this season, they have largely relied on a partnership between Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba.

The former recently earned a contract extension, while there are similar plans in the pipeline for the latter. Hence, they could continue at the club together for years to come.

Yet Arsenal might want more options in support of them. At present, they have Benjamin White, who has been playing as a right-back for the most part this season, and Rob Holding.

There have been a few suggestions of who else could come into the fold. For instance, there have been links with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Evan Ndicka.

But another name who seems to be emerging onto Arsenal’s radar – if reports in Italy are to be believed – is Rodrigo Becao.

According to Tutto Udinese, Arsenal are among the clubs who could be willing to pay €15million (just over £13million) to sign the Brazilian.

His contract with Udinese is due to expire in 2024 and there is yet to be much progress over a renewal. Indeed, Becao wants to become one of Udinese’s highest earners.

If they cannot find a compromise, Udinese might have to sell Becao “as soon as possible”, the report has warned.

Four-way battle taking shape

In that instance, clubs like Arsenal could come forward. In addition, the report names their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, fellow Premier League side Everton and Serie A champions AC Milan as other suitors.

All of them seem to have the same kind of valuation of Becao in mind. However, Udinese would prefer to hold out for €20million (just under £17.5million) if possible.

Even then, the price tag seems to be within reach for most of his admirers.

TEAMtalk has recently learnt that Everton, who previously looked like one of Becao’s biggest admirers, will not have many funds available in January. However, it should be easier for Arsenal and Tottenham – both of whom still have European football on offer – to come up with the necessary amount.

Rodrigo Becao might find Arsenal or Tottenham tempting

Rodrigo Becao captaining Udinese

They would also seemingly be tempting destinations for a player who is yet to represent a Premier League club. What’s more, he hasn’t played in the Champions League since 2018/19, when he was on loan at CSKA Moscow from Bahia.

If he was to join Tottenham in January, he would have that opportunity again immediately. Indeed, they will be facing another of his suitors, AC Milan, in the round of 16.

Alternatively, he could experience the Europa League with Arsenal, who look on course to finish in the top four this season to go one better.

There was a brief moment earlier in the season when Udinese looked like they could challenge at the higher end of Serie A as well. Their initial burst seems to have dissipated, though.

Hence, Becao might want to fulfil his ambitions elsewhere – and seems to be at a good stage of his career to do so.

In all honesty, Tottenham’s need might be greater than Arsenal’s. Their defence has been coming into question recently, so they might want to find new starters.

Arsenal, meanwhile, seem to be making good progress with a dependable pairing already. But the chance to prevent their local rivals from strengthening their own squad could always prompt them to act.

Only time will tell where Becao might end up next.

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