Premier League • England

Arsenal, West Ham head long queue for 83-goal striker with point to prove

Gabriel Barbosa and Thiago Maia celebrate for Flamengo

West Ham and Arsenal are part of a five-way battle to bring Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa to the Premier League, it has been revealed.

Barbosa was a disappointment in his previous attempt at making it in European football. He struggled to make an impact for Inter Milan in the 2016-17 season. The striker made just 10 appearances for the Nerazzurri and contributed a solitary goal.

Inter spent the next few years trying to offload Barbosa. A loan spell with Benfica also only brought one goal, before he returned to his native Brazil.

He got back on track on loan with Santos before joining Flamengo on the same terms until the move became permanent in 2020. Barbosa has won nine trophies with his current club, including the 2019 Copa Libertadores. He was the top scorer in the same competition this year, but his side lost the final.

His goalscoring record for the club – 83 goals from 121 games – has been much more reflective of his ‘Gabigol’ nickname than what he showed in Europe. But now, he could be ready for a second chance in the northern hemisphere.

A report from 90min has revealed that Barbosa wants to return to Europe in January and would prefer to play in the Premier League.

Fortunately for the 25-year-old, he has several suitors who may be willing to offer him such a platform.

Gabriel Barbosa has five Prem admirers

The report lists West Ham, Arsenal, Everton, Aston Villa and Newcastle as the five clubs considering taking him to England.

West Ham have been looking to sign a striker ever since they sold Sebastien Haller to Ajax in January. At present, their only recognised option up front is Michail Antonio.

Further depth will be important if they are to continue their progress in the Premier League and in Europe after a good start to the season.

They are aiming to qualify for Europe again by the end of the season, which is also the target for an Arsenal side who uncharacteristically missed out last term.

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A new striker is also on the agenda at the Emirates Stadium. Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both out of contract at the end of the season, so there could be spaces to fill in the squad.

Even main man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lost some form last season. Therefore, finding a reliable goalscorer is something of a necessity as the Gunners evolve.

Arsenal are considering a number of options but Barbosa is the latest name on their radar.

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Clubs queuing up for Gabriel Barbosa

Gabriel Barbosa celebrates for Flamengo

Meanwhile, competition could come from Newcastle, who are ready to spend in January after their Saudi-backed takeover. The challenge would be convincing him to sign up for a relegation battle, though.

Everton and Aston Villa are in slightly better positions although they too could be looking over their shoulders if recent results do not improve too much. New signings could help either back up to the kind of territory they are aiming for.

Barbosa also has admirers on the mainland continent though. Villarreal and Bayer Leverkusen both get a mention. There are also anonymous enquiries from Italy despite his previous struggles there.

His preference is the Premier League, however. What’s more, he is ready to move in January. It will be the off-season in Brazil by that point, so could be a suitable time for him to make a transfer.

Flamengo will be seeking a sum of at least £30m for a player they have under contract until December 2024.

His suitors think he is worth it, though, and could be ready to take the opportunity in the winter.

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