Premier League • England

Arsenal to scout midfield sensation ‘tonight’ as Edu eyes double Brazilian swoop despite Liverpool, Newcastle interest

Matheus Franca of Flamengo

Vitor Roque is not the only Brazilian talent Arsenal are hoping to sign as the Gunners are expected to scout an exciting midfielder on Wednesday night, according to a report.

Arsenal have been looking into signing Roque for several months now. The striker, who currently plays for Athletico Paranaense, was originally due to join Barcelona, but their talks for him stalled. This allowed Arsenal to sneak in and try to get to the goalscorer first.

However, Arsenal sporting director Edu still has plenty of work to do if he is to take Roque to north London. On Tuesday, it emerged that Chelsea are ‘moving quickly’ to reach an agreement for Roque ahead of Arsenal and Barca.

Fabrizio Romano added that Arsenal are not actually in ‘concrete talks’ with Athletico Paranaense right now, something which needs to change if Roque is to join Mikel Arteta’s squad.

Roque is not the only Brazilian youngster to have caught Edu’s eye, with the Gunners chief also interested in Flamengo midfielder Matheus Franca.

Despite being just 19 years old, Franca has already forced himself into the Flamengo first team. He has made 18 appearances across all competitions so far this term.

READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano discusses Arsenal move for unstoppable striker as Arteta tipped to get his own Erling Haaland

Franca’s impressive performances at club level have resulted in him making the Brazil U20 squad, though he is yet to make his debut for them.

The teenager’s Flamengo contract runs until December 2027, but it is very unlikely he will stay on their books for that long.

Arsenal backed to watch midfielder ‘tonight’

According to Brazilian outlet Torcedores, Arsenal are ready to step up their interest in Franca and will scout him ‘tonight’, when Flamengo play Chilean outfit Nublense in the Copa Libertadores.

Edu has told scout Jonathan Vidalle to go watch Franca and send a report back to him. Vidalle watches players in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay on behalf of Arsenal, having previously worked at Boca Juniors.

Arsenal are not the only team who like the look of Franca. The report claims fellow Premier League sides Liverpool, Newcastle and Crystal Palace are also keeping tabs on him. Palace, just like Arsenal, will send an official to watch him in the Nublense clash this evening.

Should Franca impress Vidalle, then Arsenal could draw up plans to submit an offer for him in the summer window. It is unknown how much Flamengo value him at currently, although transfermarkt put his price tag at a measly €5million (£4.4m).

It is more likely Flamengo will try to hold out for a fee in excess of €30m, having done so with Vinicius Jnr, Lucas Paqueta and Reinier in the past. Arsenal will then have to decide whether Franca is worth that much, or if their money would be better spent elsewhere.

What is clear is that Franca has done enough to earn interest from some big English clubs and could therefore arrive in the Premier League at some point in the future.

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand claims to have inside information on where Arteta might go when deciding to leave Arsenal.