Premier League • England

Arsenal hold double advantage in £53m Barcelona battle to sign Brazilian forward

Arsenal chief Edu with a smiling Mikel Arteta

A battle between Arsenal and Barcelona over the signing of a £53m-rated forward is taking shape, and Fabrizio Romano has revealed why the Gunners hold two distinct advantages.

Brazilian signings have become increasingly commonplace at the Emirates since Edu Gaspar was installed as technical director in July of 2019.

Gabriel Martinelli was signed exactly seven days after Edu took the job. Since then, he’s been joined in north London by fellow countrymen Gabriel Magalhaes, Marquinhos and Gabriel Jesus.

Marquinhos is currently out on loan at Norwich City and remains very much one for the future. However, the other three have been roaring successes and are a large factor behind Arsenal’s charge up the table this season.

Another Brazilian was recently revealed to be on Arsenal’s radar by online outlet Goal.

They reported Athletico Paranaense’s 17-year-old striker, Vitor Roque, is in their sights.

Edu was claimed to have already lodged an ‘enquiry’ into a potential move for a player who has scored eight in 11 for Brazil’s Under-20s.

Roque is already established in Paranaense’s first-team at club level and has all the hallmarks of being the next big Brazilian talent to make the move to Europe.

Goal also put Barcelona, Chelsea, Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain in the frame. However, when providing a fresh update on the state of play, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano only mentioned two clubs – Barca and Arsenal.

Arsenal hold two advantages; lower bid could succeed?

Romano told his YouTube channel Paranaense are demanding €60m (approx. £52.9m) for their young ace. Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo previously reported that is the value of his release clause.

A lower bid of around £35.6m was cited as being capable of securing a deal, though if multiple clubs are in the running, the Brazilian side will feel emboldened to hold out for the full amount.

In any case, Romano explained why Arsenal hold two advantages over Barca if it comes down to a two-way battle between the pair.

Firstly, the Spanish side’s delicate financial position makes it difficult to make permanent signings for the type of fee being quoted. Secondly, the presence and influence of Edu could prove key.

“Athletico Paranaense want around €60m to sell Vitor Roque,” said Romano.

“Barcelona want him, is the reality. Barca have the player in their list and they’ve already had conversations with his agents to make sure they can understand the conditions of the deal and figure out how to proceed with the conditions of Financial Fair Play.

“It’s not easy for Barcelona right now to proceed with those types of deals, but Vitor Roque is in the list.

“Also Arsenal have sent their scouts to follow the player. We know director Edu Gaspar is Brazilian and he knows all the best talents around the world, but also in Brazil.

“Vitor Roque is a player they are monitoring… one to watch.”

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