Arsenal sporting director Edu continues to monitor a highly-rated MLS star and could still launch a huge summer swoop for his services, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The Gunners are riding high with a five-point buffer at the Premier League summit. Mikel Arteta’s side extended their lead on Wednesday night over reigning champions Manchester City with a 4-0 demolition job of Everton. As a result, hopes are burning bright that they can end their 19-year title drought.
However, they will have to be at their best if they are to avoid being caught by dab hands City. Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s side are chasing a fifth league title in the last six seasons – an incredible record.
Whatever their fate this season, Arteta, alongside sporting director Edu, are making clear plans ahead of the summer window. And rather than resting on their laurels, they want to further strengthen their squad ahead of its likely return to Champions League competition.
Arteta very much has his eyes on a new midfield addition. Indeed, Declan Rice is very much on their radar, with the West Ham man likely to command a fee in the region of £100m.
That said, Roy Keane has warned them over a move for Rice, claiming the star has gone backwards and is not worth a big-money fee.
Arteta, though, will likely know his own mind and is seemingly determined to bring Rice to Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners manager is also reportedly looking to further strengthen his attack. And while the club managed to land Leandro Trossard in January, he reportedly wants further top-quality reinforcements bringing in.
Arteta still keen on Arsenal deal for Facundo Torres
Two such names on Arteta’s list are Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams and Inter striker Lautaro Martinez. Indeed, deals for either players would surely excite supporters heading into the new season.
However, they do have a more modest target in mind too. And Arsenal have a long-standing interest in Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres.
The Orlando City winger has been on Arsenal’s radar for several months now. And the Gunners were reportedly contemplating a move for his services during the January window.
That ultimately came and passed without Arsenal actually making a concrete move for his services.
And their prospects of a deal have since deteriorated following news the 22-year-old has extended his deal to 2027.
However, the new contract does contain a release clause allowing suitors to sign him for a fee of around £25m.
And according to Romano, speaking to Caught Offside, that has not put Arsenal off.
“Arsenal have never spoken to Orlando about Facundo Torres, never made any contact or bid,” Romano said. “They just followed the player as they do with many players around the world.
“But it was never a concrete negotiation in January or before, and now he’s signed a new contract with the MLS side. I’m sure many clubs will keep an eye on his development including Arsenal, as he’s a great talent.”
Arsenal target Torres keen to test himself at higher level
Torres will now use his new deal as a platform to further hone his talents as one of MLS’s star turns.
And he has made it perfectly clear that he would like the chance to test himself at a higher level if the opportunity presents itself.
“Orlando City confirmed to me that there was contact with Arsenal, but then I left for the World Cup and I didn’t want to hear about a potential transfer at that point,” he told 90min.
“So the conversation stayed there but now that I am back with the team, we will see where the conversation goes.
“I would love to play in Europe,” he continued. “It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a kid.
“At the moment I am focused on Orlando City. But La Liga or Premier League would be my targets, and that’s where the rumours are coming from.
“But yeah, I would absolutely love that.”
In the meantime, Arsenal scouts will continue to keep tabs on his progress. And a future move to Emirates Stadium could yet materialise.
For now, Arsenal’s entire focus will be on their push for title glory with Arteta leaving summer transfer plans in the capable hands of Edu.