Arsenal transfer news: Piccini to replace Bellerin?
Sporting Lisbon right-back is the latest defender linked with a move to the Emirates
With Arsenal’s defence in disarray for much of the season, it’s no surprise to learn that the Gunners are being linked with a number of back-four blockers.
Yesterday it was Manchester City’s John Stones and now Talksport claims that Arsenal are closing in on Sporting Lisbon defender Cristiano Piccini. Although West Ham and Juventus have checked out the 25-year-old right-back in recent months, it’s reported that Arsenal will beat both to his signature this summer.
Taking its cue from a report in Portuguese rag Jornal de Noticias, Talksport says Arsenal are “in the driving seat” to land Piccini. Sporting signed the Italian from Real Betis in a £2.6m deal last year but they are apparently prepared to offload the defender because Arsenal are “ready to pay £17.5m to secure his signature”.
Why such a sum? It may be an indication that the north London club are resigned to seeing Hector Bellerin return to Spain with rumours of late indicating that Barcelona have been making overtures.
On the subject of Barcelona, Spanish paper Sport reports that 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz will spurn advances from Arsenal to remain at the Camp Nou. Described as a “starlet”, as teenagers invariably are, Ruiz has caught the eye of Arsenal and Chelsea scouts with his composed performances for Spain Under-19s. But in conversation with Sport, Ruiz dismissed talk that he could move to London and revealed he hopes to negotiate a new contract with Barca: “I don’t see myself playing for any other club...we are in talks and we could close the deal in the coming days.”