Transfer exclusive: Mikel Arteta factor gives Arsenal the edge over Manchester clubs and Newcastle in chase for Spanish sensation
TEAMtalk have learned why Arsenal have a slight edge in the chase to sign a Spanish sensation who is wanted by numerous other Premier League clubs, as well as some of Europe’s big hitters.
Celta Vigo central midfielder Gabri Veiga is the player in question, with the 20-year-old really bursting onto the scene in LaLiga this season, leading to countless clubs chasing his signature.
Arsenal are well known to be in the mix for the youngster and Ben Jacobs has revealed why he might be attracted by a switch to The Emirates, although the Gunners will have a massive fight on their hands to land what could be a real transfer coup.
Jacobs said: “Gabri Veiga is in demand, that’s for sure. There’s a number of Premier League clubs scouting the Spanish Under-21 international and he’s had a breakthrough season – 25 league appearances and nine goals.
“When you flash back to his previous two seasons for Celta, as he was breaking through, he only played a handful of games and didn’t score at all. So it’s been a significant season so far, and that is bound to attract suitors.
“He’s only 20 years of age, central midfielder six foot, strength, intelligence, can break forwards and has proven himself to be clinical as well. And that kind of profile is very hard to find.
“The Premier League is the most likely destination but Celta want to hang on to the player for as long as possible.
“So it’s a little bit premature at this stage to guarantee anything, whether a move or a particular club. But there’s four or five Premier League clubs as I understand it, that are scouting the player and both Manchester clubs have taken a look, Newcastle United and Arsenal, two others to watch as well.
“And there’s a feeling based upon those close to the player that Arsenal might be the preference but only loosely speaking and that is understandable when you consider the Mikel Arteta factor.
“And on top of that the fact that Arsenal are flying and playing a brand of football that would be highly conducive to the player’s game.
“But this is one of those where when the player is this young, and has only really had their first season of multiple games and goals, the development aspect is more important than the lure of any one individual club, which is why staying at Celta could be a very realistic possibility. It’s what allows game time and development.
“And the last thing you want to do is go to a bigger club, and then end up having your pathway blocked as a result of that.
“So I think that it will all come down to player ambition versus a suitor, if there is to be a move come this summer, setting out a very clear pathway.”
High Veiga release clause complicates matters
One thing to factor in with a potential move for Veiga is the release clause involved and Jacobs has revealed how that could impact any deal.
He added: “The other thing to point out is that there is a release clause in there too, which obviously does allow for escalation. And when you trigger a release clause, the terms are not particularly preferable.
“But if a suitor sees that release clause at or below the market value, they might be tempted to either trigger it or of course offer something equivalent or slightly better to it and try and get payment terms that they’re looking for.
“And because that release clause is €40million (£35m), and some say the market value of the player is already about €30m (£26.4m) is maybe not particularly high. And that might be tempting.
“I know that beyond the teams I’ve mentioned Liverpool have taken a look, Aston Villa have taken a look in the past as well because everybody’s seeing the development and it’s been a very fast one this season.
“So the Premier League is probably the most likely destination. I think it’s too early to be picking out a front-runner. The player, as I said before, might have clubs that he prefers, but as with Mykhaylo Mudryk, who preferred an Arsenal transfer and then ended up going to Chelsea, who the player likes versus who the player moves to can be two completely different things.
“The other thing just to add on this as well is that it’s not only a race between Premier League suitors, you have interest from Atletico Madrid if there is a possibility of LaLiga being the destination where the player chooses to stay. And sometimes they’re just settled in that league and therefore have a decision informed by that stability, being close to their friends and family.
“Napoli are the other club who have looked as well. And they’re absolutely flying at the moment, they’re on a procession to Serie A. They’re very much Champions League contenders.
“It’s not necessarily thought when I talked to people close to the player’s side that Serie A would be the number one choice. But Napoli have got such a feel-good factor at the moment that I don’t think we can entirely rule them out.
“You get a lot more game time at Napoli, in my opinion anyway, versus moving to let’s just say hypothetically, an Arsenal. There’s a lot of moving parts here.
“It is still too early to tell what direction this one will move in. But what I would say is that there are several Premier League suitors, and the better the player performs, presuming that there’s no change in terms, the more valuable that release clause appears. Because the actual player’s stock is rising very quickly.
“So that release clause looks more and more and more of a bargain day by day by day, unless it’s changed or altered. So there’s still lots of possibilities on this one.
“But there is a very real chance, come summer, that one of these clubs does choose to move.”
Arsenal are back in action on Saturday when they host Leeds in the Premier League.
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