Arsenal are looking to sign Sporting Lisbon’s attacker Pedro Goncalves in the coming transfer window, who is tipped as next Bruno Fernandes. The 22-year-old was the replacement for Bruno Fernandes when the Manchester United man left Portugal for England last January.
The Gunners prepare for a crunch Europa League quarter-final tie against Slavia Prague on Thursday. They would like to bounce back after a humiliating home defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, which all but ended their hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League.
Manager Mikel Arteta and Sporting director Edu have a huge summer ahead. The squad is underperforming and ageing and in dire need of a rebuild. To make matters worse, the club announced a £47.8 million loss for the financial year from 2019 and 2020. And those figures are likely to be even worse next year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, funds will be very limited to spend on new recruitments. And if they fail to land European football for next season, it would become all the more difficult. The Gunners have to rely on player sales to increase their transfer budget.
Arsenal in need of a creative midfielder
The Gunners main struggle this season has been creating chances from midfield. Thus, the midfield is a key position that Arteta wants to bolster this summer. Chief creator for the past few years, Mesut Ozil finally left the club controversially in January.
The club did sign Martin Odegaard on-loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season. But it is unlikely that the Los Blancos will sell the player on a permanent basis, despite Odegaard’s desire to stay at the Emirates.
They have the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe and both have done particularly well this season. But both are pretty young and are inexperienced. Nicolas Pepe have again been disappointing. Willian has been their top creator this season, but there are doubts over his future at the club as well.
If Odegaard were to return to Madrid next season, Arsenal would need a specialist goalscorer and creator from midfield.
‘Next Bruno Fernandes’ to Arsenal?
According to Portuguese outlet A Bola, the Gunners are monitoring the progress of Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Goncalves ahead of a potential transfer this summer.
Goncalves has scored 15 goals and provided 3 assists in the Portuguese league this season. His terrific form has seen the club sit top of their league and on course to win their domestic title. He is dubbed the ‘next Bruno Fernandes’ due to the similarities in playing style. The 22-year-old has stepped up since the departure of former teammate Fernandes.
Goncalves is more versatile than Fernandes though. He mainly operates as a right-winger. But his versatility allows him to play across any position in the attack.
Arsenal’s main stumbling block is Goncalves’ £51 million release clause. And it is claimed that Sporting are unlikely to accept anything lower than that. If Goncalves can have a similar impact in the Premier League as Bruno Fernandes has had, it will be money very well spent.