Arsenal's once 'imminent' transfer may now be impossible to complete as five-year deal signed


If you were to ask two Arsenal supporters what the priority should be in the January transfer window, chances are they wouldn't be able to agree as there may only be room for one signing, if any.

The Gunners were active in the summer, spending £200million+ to recruit Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber in addition to a season-long loan deal for goalkeeper David Raya. That outlay is expected to have some sort of impact on a potential move for Pedro Neto, for example, as he is reportedly valued at £60million by Wolves.

Meanwhile, there's a growing belief - not just among some Arsenal fans, but Gary Neville too in particular - that Mikel Arteta needs to add a proven goalscorer to his attack: "You've got to have a couple of players in your team, at least one, who have that smell of where the ball is going to land," the former Manchester United defender said on his podcast when reflecting on the 2-2 draw in the North London Derby last month.

"Not a poacher, the days of poachers are gone that just play off another striker and two up top. We’re not in that moment anymore. When you think of the forward lines we’ve seen at Barcelona with David Villa, Pedro and Lionel Messi all those years ago – none of them are real strikers as in goal-sniffers. Sergio Aguero was, but we’re not even talking about that, we’re talking about someone who knows where to be.

"Gabriel Jesus, when he robbed James Maddison, these are big moments in the game and big things. You've got to be on the move and be sniffing, smelling, anticipating, and Arsenal haven't got that. I really like this Arsenal team and they could go on to win a title or finish second, have a great season and win trophies without that type of player, but it became obvious in this game that it was missing."

And it just so happens that Ivan Toney is the other name strongly being linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. Allowed to resume playing competitively from January 16, 2024, when his eight-month suspension for breaching betting rules is complete, with 32 Premier League goals to his name across the past two seasons and an aerial presence, the England international certainly ticks many boxes to lead the line for the Gunners.

READ MORE: Arsenal monitoring two Premier League stars ahead of January transfer window

READ MORE: Edu has new January transfer priority for Mikel Arteta as surprise deal for Andre is explored

Again though, the finances that are being reported could place any January deal in doubt as Brentford are said to be demanding a fee in the region of £60million too. As a result, it might be a case of the north London outfit focusing on cheaper or perhaps loan deals when the transfer window reopens.

Having said that, if reports over the weekend are to be believed then Arteta and sporting director Edu Gaspar are looking to add another midfielder to the ranks amid talk of hi-jacking Liverpool's move for Fluminense's Andre who is apparently available for £21.5m, as per Anfield Watch.

Now it wouldn't be an Arsenal transfer window if Edu wasn't tipped to use his contacts in Brazil. After all, Pablo Mari (Flamengo) and Marquinhos (Sao Paulo) have been recruited under his watch and he oversaw the final stages of Gabriel Martinelli's move from Ituano in the summer of 2019.

Whether the Gunners' transfer chief can strike an agreement with Fluminense for Andre and beat Liverpool to the 22-year-old's signature remains to be seen, but one Brazilian who almost certainly won't be making the move to North London anytime soon is Bitello.

This is rather interesting as at one point during the summer, Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb claimed Arsenal were on the verge of signing the 23-year-old from Gremio in a deal said to be worth in the region of £6.8million. However, he has since joined Dynamo Moscow for a reported €10million (£8.6million) putting pen-to-paper on a five-year deal in the process.

Whilst Bitello typically operates in a central midfield role, he has experience playing as a right-winger which meant he was viewed as possible cover and competition for Bukayo Saka had he joined the Gunners. But last month's transfer activity indicates Arteta and Edu will have to look elsewhere when it comes to bolstering the squad in those areas.

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