Arsenal ‘pushing hard’ for £44m striker signing as Romano addresses Watkins rumours

Joe Williams
Arsenal target Vitor Roque celebrates scoring a goal

Arsenal are still looking to seal a deal for Athletico Paranaense striker Vitor Roque ahead of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

The Gunners are having a great season in the Premier League with Mikel Arteta’s side currently top of the Premier League table, four points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, although Pep Guardiola’s men do have a game in hand.

Gabriel Jesus’ injury that ruled him out for a few months highlighted Arsenal’s lack of depth up front with only Eddie Nketiah – who did well filling in for the Brazil international – their only other option up front.

And there have been a number of strikers linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer transfer window with Roque’s name appearing on a number of occasions.

Athletico Paranaense paid Roque’s £3.8m release clause to buy him from fellow Brazilian side Cruzeiro last summer with the young striker signing a five-year deal.

Roque, who is reportedly valued at €50m (£44m), made 14 starts in his 29 appearances during his first season at the club and contributed five goals and two assists with the 18-year-old attracting interest from a number of big European clubs.

And now Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claim that Arsenal are ‘pushing hard’ to sign the Brazilian and the Gunners are said to be ‘well positioned’ but ‘not that much’.

They explain that Chelsea are actually the ‘most interested’ in Roque and are ‘moving quickly’ to ‘convince those around him’ that a move to Stamford Bridge would be the right move for him.

Athletico Paranaense have already realised ‘that they will not be able to retain the footballer and that they will have to sell him to a European club’.

Another striker linked to Arsenal is Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins – who has been in red-hot form recently – with Football Transfers claiming that the Gunners are ‘keeping a close eye on him’.

Arsenal ‘have a long-standing interest’ in Watkins and it ‘would be a dream’ for the England international to put on a Gunners shirt.

But transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists he is “not aware of anything advanced at this stage” over a possible move to Arsenal.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “I’ve had Arsenal fans asking me about the reports on Ollie Watkins – I can say that I’m not aware of anything advanced at this stage with any club. He’s doing excellent and he’s only focused on Villa.

“I’m sure he’s capable of making the step up to one of the so-called ‘big six’, but we also have to respect Villa as the project is ambitious and Unai Emery is there to help them grow.”

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