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Arsenal are set to offer a player plus cash for Sporting Lisbon wonderkid Joelson Fernandes, reports say.
The 17-year-old is attracting attention from big clubs and is the latest forward to emerge from Sporting Lisbon’s renowned youth ranks – which produced Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma.
Fernandes has a £40million release clause, but the Mirror claim Arsenal are keen to avoid paying that figure and will bid to lower the asking price by offering one of their players in part exchange.
Arsenal have a host of players up for grabs this summer including midfielders Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and a host of defenders are also in the shop window, but any deal for Fernandes is likely to include a youth player on the fringes of the senior squad.
Borussia Dortmund and Juventus are providing competition for Fernandes’ signature, but Arsenal are leading the race for the forward.
Mikel Arteta is eager to strengthen his forward options and Arsenal are on the verge of finalising a deal with former Chelsea winger Willian.
Fernandes will be marked down as one for the future, while Willian will be expected to go straight into Arteta’s starting eleven.
The Arsenal head coach likes what he has seen from Fernandes so far and thinks he would boost the youth ranks in his senior team. Arteta has big plans for the summer transfer window, but his efforts are being restricted by Arsenal’s budget.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on the club’s finances, but Arsenal are hoping they can use swap deals to drive down the asking prices for their top targets.
Arsenal’s bid to land Fernandes is being helped by the fact Kia Joorabchian is the player’s agent. Joorabchian has close ties with the Gunners hierarchy having already secured deals for his clients David Luiz and Cedric Soares at Arsenal.
The London club are believed to have tabled at least one bid for Fernandes already, but that offer was nowhere near the £40m buy-out clause.