Arsenal, Man City, and Aston Villa converge on World Cup winner amid release clause confusion

Argentina right-back Nahuel Molina

Arsenal, Manchester City and Aston Villa have all been tipped to compete for the signature of an Argentine World Cup winner amid ongoing confusion regarding the player’s release clause, per a report.

Right-back Nahuel Molina was among the unsung heroes for Argentina in Qatar. Indeed, while Lionel Messi rightly took the spotlight, Molina quietly went about his business on the right side of defence and started six of his country’s seven matches including the final.

The 25-year-old plies his trade at club level for LaLiga giant Atletico Madrid. Molina joined Diego Simeone’s side in the summer of 2022 when leaving Udinese in a deal worth €15m including add-ons.

Molina was an instant hit at Atleti, racking up four goals and two assists from 33 league appearances during his maiden campaign at the Metropolitano stadium.

However, according to a report out of Spain (as cited by Goal), his future may lay in the Premier League.

It’s claimed the trio of Arsenal, Man City and Aston Villa are all sizing Molina up. As yet, no official bids have been lodged, though that may change in 2024.

Key to the English clubs’ hopes will be determining at what price Molina’s release clause is set at.

Indeed, confusion has reigned over the release clause, with figures in the vast range of €30m-€70m cited in the media. An even higher sum of €90m has also been suggested.

Atleti move to ward off Molina interest

Nonetheless, in lieu of Molina’s superb first season in Spain, Atleti intend to offer Molina a new contract and raise the release clause in the process.

If successful, Atleti would protect their investment and raise what could potentially be a bargain release fee.

Alternatively, if Molina doesn’t pen fresh terms and his current release clause remains untouched, the English trio could pounce.

The report concludes an exit to the cash-rich Premier League is ‘not ruled out’. It’s also claimed Molina moving to England would not come as a surprise to those in Spain.

Arsenal signed a new right-back in the form of Jurrien Timber in July, though an ACL injury has ensured he might not play again this season. As such, a January move could make sense for the Gunners who harbour genuine hopes of toplling Man City in the Premier League.

City, meanwhile, saw Joao Cancelo join Barcelona. Furthermore, although he’s expected to sign a new contract running until 2026, Kyle Walker cannot be expected to play 50-plus matches a season now aged 33.

Over at Villa Park, the addition of Molina would represent another stellar coup for a club clearly on the rise under Unai Emery.

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