Arsenal the ‘most committed’ to sign Barcelona-linked wonderkid as Edu ‘contacts agent’

Jason Soutar
Reported Arsenal target Vitor Roque celebrates his goal

Arsenal have joined La Liga giants Barcelona in the race to sign Athletico-PR wonderkid Vitor Roque, according to reports in Spain.

The Brazilian side paid €4.7million to sign the 17-year-old from Cruzeiro last April.

His terrific performances at club and international level have caught the attention of many top clubs around Europe.

The young forward scored an impressive six goals and notched an assist for Brazil at the U20 South American Championship.

Goal Brasil reported last week that Arsenal had expressed an interest in signing Roque, though Barcelona are believed to be leading the race.

The Gunners ‘made an approach’ to sign the player, the report states, with Newcastle United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain also keen.

Athletico initially asked for Roque’s €60m release clause to be paid; however, it is now believed that a lower fee can be negotiated.

Goal say it was Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar who made the contact with the 17-year-old’s representatives.

And now a report from Spanish newspaper Sport (via Sport Witness) claims Edu has initiated contact with Roque’s entourage.

The report says that Arsenal are a ‘strong competitior’ to Barcelona for the teenager’s signature and that the Gunners have ‘bid’ for the forward.

Edu has spoken to Roque’s agent and it is said that Arsenal are the ‘most committed’ to signing him.

Despite the advances made by the Brazilian director, Barcelona remain confident they can land Roque.

As a young, promising, player, Roque would suit what Mikel Arteta is trying to build at the Emirates.

Arteta has put a lot of faith in young players, developing the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli while signing players like Martin Odegaard and Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Despite having such a young core, Arsenal are flying this season and currently sit top of the Premier League.

After dropping points in their last two matches, the Gunners are three clear of reigning champions Manchester City with a game in hand.

As City gain momentum and Arsenal endure their most difficult period of the season, the two sides will fittingly lock horns at the Emirates on Wednesday evening.

In what could potentially be mind games from Pep Guardiola, Erling Haaland is a doubt for the match after picking up a knock in Sunday’s win over Aston Villa.

“Erling has a kick and we will assess in the next days what he can do,” Guardiola said after the match.

“At half-time I spoke with the doctors. They said at 3-0, ‘maybe don’t take risks’ and I agreed.

“I think he is not injured but tomorrow we will see. Hopefully he can be in for Wednesday but if he is not ready, or there is some risk, he is not going to play.”

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