D-Day for Arsenal target with CL clash to decide if Real Madrid ace is axed

Date published: Wednesday 24th February 2021 2:05 - Jonny Whitfield

Isco, Vinicius Junior Real Madrid

Vinicius Junior must put in a strong performance against Atalanta on Wednesday if he is to have a long-term Real Madrid career, according to a report.

The Brazilian has faced speculation over his future for some time now; while he has played 21 of Madrid’s 24 LaLiga games this term, he has only completed five 90-minute stints in that time.

What’s more, he has only contributed two goals and three assists in the top flight. As such, talk has surfaced that Madrid bosses are becoming increasingly frustrated at his performances.

The LaLiga title may still be within reach to second-placed Madrid, but progressing in the Champions League is another crucial aim this season.

Indeed, the Spanish giants have exited the competition at the last 16 stage in both of the last two seasons. Such a run looks worse given they won the competition three times in a row before that.

Therefore, Madrid chiefs have coupled the importance of European progression with Vinicius’ future.

Don Balon claims that the 20-year-old will start in Wednesday’s last 16 first leg against Atalanta. If he performs well, he will guarantee himself a place in next season’s squad.

However, if he fails to impress, he will go on the club’s transfer list with a valuation of €50million (£43million).

Vinicius Junior TEAMtalk

As for who would be keen on snapping him up, the source adds that Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have shown interest.

The Gunners have a strong relationship with Madrid, after sealing a loan deal for Martin Odegaard in January.

Dani Ceballos, meanwhile, is enjoying a second temporary spell at The Emirates away from the club.

Arteta urges Arsenal to withstand pressure

Meanwhile, Arsenal are also in European action this week, facing the second leg of their Europa League last 32 tie with Benfica on Thursday.

The Gunners head into the tie after a 1-1 draw with their Portuguese opponents last week.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta spoke of the pressure his players will have to handle.

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