Joao Moutinho recently scored the decisive goal in the first leg of Porto’s Champions League round of 16 clash with Malaga, but was unable to help the Portuguese outfit progress through the next round, as Porto lost 2-1 to Malaga on aggregate.
The 26-year-old has told the club he would like to leave at the end of the season after three successful years. He has already won the Portuguese League title in his two years with Porto, and also the Europa League in his debut season.
Having already accomplished so much, he feels he is ready for a new challenge and would like to play for a club competing in one of the supposed top tier European Leagues. He was rumoured to move to Spurs in the winter window, since he has worked with the Spurs manager Villas-Boas in the past, but no move materialized.
It is the other North London club who have emerged as favourites to land the central midfielder. The Gunners failed to bring a replacement for Alex Song and Arsene Wenger now plans to bring in Moutinho, who can also play in the holding midfield role. The Portuguese international has just scored 7 goals in more than 100 appearances for Porto but his qualities on the ball and ability to play out from the back have influenced Wenger’s serious interest in him.
Song created plenty of goals for Arsenal prior to his move to Barcelona, having made 14 assists in his last season. Moutinho also has a reputation of creating goals for his teammates, having assisted 24 times for the Portuguese club.
Moutinho has also garnered interest from a host of other top European clubs after signalling his intention to leave Porto with the likes of Zenit St. Petersburg, Inter Milan and Spurs all reportedly interested in making a move for him. The potential stumbling block for Arsenal of old is the transfer fee, with Moutinho valued at £25 million by Porto but this should not be a problem now with the new transfer policy that Wenger is supposed to be introducing. Let’s see if Wenger makes this transfer happen with other teams competing for Moutinho.