‘Next Bruno Fernandes’ in Edu sights as Arsenal eye Odegaard Plan B

Date published: Wednesday 7th April 2021 4:38 - James Marshment

Arsenal are reported to have made contact with Sporting Lisbon over a deal to sign talented playmaker Pedro Goncalves.

The 22-year-old has earned rave reviews in Portugal this season, having filled the void vacated by Bruno Fernandes. Having arrived from Famalicao over the summer, Goncalves has 15 goals and five assists to his name. His form has taken him to the fringes of the Portuguese national side.

Indeed, his performances have already led to speculation linking him with a move away. Having drawn comparisons with Fernandes, Goncalves has been mentioned as a possible target for Manchester United.

Despite signing a five-year deal upon his arrival, it seems Sporting do face a battle to hang on to the attacker. The midfielder, who can also operate off the wing, has also emerged as a target for Arsenal.

According to A Bola, the Gunners have been studying Goncalves closely over recent months. Now the Portuguese outlet claims Arsenal have put a firm offer on the table to test their resolve.

Although the amount Arsenal are reported to have bid has not been disclosed, it seems signing the 22-year-old won’t be easy. Contracted to Sporting until summer 2025, Goncalves has a €60m release clause in his deal.

Furthermore, Arsenal are likely to only pursue the Portuguese star if their pursuit for Martin Odegaard ends in failure. The Norwegian has impressed since arriving on loan and the Gunners hope to sign him permanently.

Indeed, technical director Edu can convince Real Madrid to sell them the Norwegian. A recent report has suggested that the on-loan Arsenal playmaker has indicated where he wishes to be playing next season.

Nevertheless, A Bola are adamant that Goncalves is a player to the liking of Edu. They suggest a chunky bid could secure his signature and persuade Sporting to sell.

A move to the Emirates would see a return to English football for the player. He has previously played for Wolves, making just one appearance in the 2018/19 season before returning to his homeland.

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‘Versatile’ Pedro Goncalves

Goncalves‘ abilities have recently been highlighted by his former Famalicao coach.

Speaking about the player Joao Pedro Sousa told the BBC how they helped him develop.

“When we brought him from Wolverhampton [in mid-2019] he was a player with almost no playing time.

Pedro Goncalves TEAMtalk

“He obviously wasn’t the footballer he is now. But he clearly understood the game and its different moments – something that makes a difference in high-level football. He had the chance to feature with me in a number of positions in midfield. As a double pivot, a winger and a number 10.

“This season, we are seeing him in a more advanced role, closer to the finishing area, with more goal involvements.

“He’s revealing an ability to get to the last third and attack that I didn’t know about. I have to congratulate Ruben Amorim [Sporting boss] for that. It’s any coach’s dream to have a player as versatile as Pedro.”

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