Premier League side Arsenal are in pole position to land Espanyol star Marc Roca as an alternative to Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, according to reports in the Spanish media.
The midfield enforcer is also wanted by Everton and AC Milan, but Mikel Arteta is a long-time admirer of Roca and the Gunners are leading the chase, according to La Razon.
Arteta is keen on a deal for the 23-year-old, who is only under contract until June 2022. Roca has a £35million release clause in his contract, but Espanyol could accept a lower price given the Covid-19 outbreak, the club’s possible relegation and the player’s contract circumstances.
The Gunners, who have a tight transfer budget, will be hoping to get a big reduction on that price tag and if Partey proves out of reach then Roca may well be their first-choice back up.
Atletico Madrid star Partey has a release clause of £44.5m in his contract, but Atletico are unlikely to give any discount on the 26-year-old midfielder who is under contract until 2023.
The Gunners know they will likely need Champions League football to fund a deal for Partey and with Arteta’s men eight points off fourth place, they face an uphill battle.
That’s where Roca could fit in, because he will be a far cheaper option for Arteta, who is keen to add a combative midfielder to his side and with Espanyol rooted to the foot of LaLiga there could be the opportunity for Arsenal to strike a deal.
Roca has recently left his agents JM10 Sport to join Promoesport – an agency who also represent Premier League pair Adama Traore and Eric Bailly.
La Razon claim Arteta is “very interested” in Roca although Milan pose a threat to their plans with Milan News claiming manager Stefano Pioli wants to play him alongside Ismael Bennacer.
Sport claimed in April that Roca had received an offer from Arsenal, with Arteta looking for a replacement for Dani Ceballos.
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