Arsenal given green light over €50m transfer as Brazilian ‘will’ snub Barcelona for PL transfer

Joe Williams
Arsenal target Vitor Roque celebrates scoring a goal

Premier League side Arsenal have a great chance of signing Athletico Paranaense striker Vitor Roque this summer, according to reports.

The Gunners are having a brilliant season under Mikel Arteta with the Spaniard leading them to first place in the Premier League with ten matches to play.

Arsenal are currently eight points ahead of second-placed Manchester City – who play Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday – although Pep Guardiola’s side do have a game in hand.

And the Gunners are almost certain to qualify for the Champions League, unless something incredible happens between now and the end of the season, and Arteta and technical director Edu will be confident of attracting top players.

There has been speculation that Arsenal could look to sign Athletico Paranaense striker Roque, who has impressed in the Brazilian league with five goals and two assists in his first season for the club, in which he made 14 starts in 29 appearances.

Athletico Paranaense paid his £3.8m release clause to sign him from fellow Brazilian outfit Cruzeiro last summer with Roque signing a five-year contract at the club.

And the 18-year-old is already attracting big interest from Europe with Brazilian media outlet UOL claiming that Roque’s ‘will is to go’ to the Premier League with Arsenal his most interested suitors.

Barcelona are the other team believed to be competing with the Gunners for his signature but the report claims that his agent, Andre Cury, has a ‘bad relationship’ with the Catalan giants.

So much so that it will make negotiations extremely difficult and UOL insist that Roque ‘will’ end up in the Premier League and not at Barcelona.

Arsenal host Leeds United on Saturday in the Premier League as they look to carry on their winning run but they will have to do it without William Saliba, who picked up a back injury in their loss to Sporting Lisbon before the international break.

Giving an update on Saliba in his pre-match press conference, Arteta said: “He is progressing. Unfortunately he still has some discomfort in his back and we are trying to manage it in the best possible way.

“He is not going to be fit for this game. We are trying, he is trying, to do everything he can to feel better and get him back training – but not yet.

“I am very hopeful and he is as well. Back injuries are a bit tricky, how they evolve with the load that you put as well in certain areas.

“But he is very positive about it, the medical staff are positive about it. Let’s push it every day, a little bit, and see how he can cope with that and how the pain develops as well. He is obviously so willing as well to be back with the team.”

On fears Saliba could have to have surgery, the Arsenal boss added: “I don’t know, I don’t have the answer today to answer 100 per cent what it is that is going to be the case.

“Hopefully we get the right load for him, the right amount of rest that he needs while we’re keeping him active, and the pain starts to go away and we are more comfortable with the images we have of him that we can start to take him to the pitch and do certain activities with him. That’s it.”

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