Arsenal ‘best positioned’ to win race for Brazilian starlet who is ‘determined’ to join Barca

Jason Soutar
Reported Arsenal target Vitor Roque celebrates winning the South American U-20 Conmebol Tournament

Arsenal are leading the race to sign Brazilian wonderkid Vitor Roque, who is ‘determined’ to play for Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

The 18-year-old joined Athletico Paranaense from Cruzeiro for €4.7million last April, signing a five-year contract.

He has shown an incredible amount of potential and is already attracting interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Roque has an impressive ten goals and three assists in 40 appearances for Athletico and was recently rewarded with a maiden cap for the Brazilian national team.

An incredible achievement for an 18-year-old playing in his home country, Roque played 25 minutes against Morocco in a friendly earlier this month.

Brazil interim manager Ramon Menezes handed Roque his senior debut after doing so for the Under-20s.

As mentioned prior, there is a lot of interest in the teenager, with Arsenal leading the race.

This is according to Mundo Deportivo. A report published on Thursday morning states that Barcelona’s ‘Operation Vitor Roque’ is not progressing.

Premier League clubs have used the international break to ‘accelerate contacts’ with Arsenal establishing themselves as the club ‘best positioned’ to land the young attacker.

Chelsea are another side interested in signing Roque after missing out on Endrick, but the Blues are ‘going through economic squeezes’ after spending over €600m on 16 new players in the previous two transfer windows.

This has put Arsenal in a very strong position to land Roque, but you cannot rule out Barcelona.

The 18-year-old is apparently ‘determined’ to ply his trade at the Nou Camp, however, their financial issues mean a move to England is more ‘realistic’.

Roque’s representatives and father are in London to discuss a move with the Gunners but will visit Barcelona to ‘calibrate the possibilities’ of joining the La Liga giants.

Barca’s financial problems mean they have ‘cooled’ their interest in the player.

Meanwhile, Arsenal director of football Edu Gaspar is working on the deal and has ‘been in contact for months’.

The report adds that Arsenal are also interested in signing Barca defender Eric Garcia.

Mikel Arteta could be in the market for a new central defender this summer with Rob Holding the immediate back-up for William Saliba.

Holding has performed well most of the time he has been drafted into the starting XI, but he is not someone who should be picking up regular minutes for a side wanting to win the Premier League and Champions League, in my opinion.

Garcia faces an uncertain future in Catalonia after the club agreed to sign Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The Spain international joined Barca from Manchester City when he became a free agent in the summer of 2021.

He has fallen out of favour under Xavi, but has played 21 times across all competitions this term.

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