Gremio president Alberto Guerra says that the club have not received any bids for Arsenal transfer target Bitello.
It was reported last week that the Gunners were lining up a formal offer for the 23-year-old, after officials flew out to Porto Alegre, but Guerra claims that no offers have been tabled so far:
“There are a lot of people watching Bitello, but there is no proposal, even to reassure our fans, at the moment.”
It is believed that Arsenal had representatives in the stands when Gremio played Bahia in the Copa do Brasil last Thursday, and that could be what Guerra is referring to when he says teams are “watching” the midfielder.
From the sound of things, though, the London club have yet to make a formal approach to sign Bitello.
Arsenal could snap up Bitello for a relatively small price
Gremio are thought to be demanding €10m (£8.5m) for the Brazilian. That isn’t a fee that should put off a club like Arsenal, despite the fact that Mikel Arteta’s side have spent over £200m on new signings this summer already, after the arrivals of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice.
Bitello is known for his versatility, having been deployed as both a central midfielder and winger by Gremio this season, so he could prove to be a useful squad player, even though he won’t cost a great deal to bring in.
Sales are likely to be the priority
It may simply be the case that the Gunners are holding fire on making a bid for Bitello until they have sold some players.
Albert Sambi Lokonga, Cedric Soares and Nicolas Pepe have all been left out of the squad for the pre-season tour of the United States, with the trio likely to be offloaded if an offer arrives in the coming days and weeks.
Speculation has also been rife about Thomas Partey’s future. The Ghanaian international has not travelled either, but it is believed that he will link up with his teammates next week.
The midfielder was with the team in Germany for their friendly against Nuremberg but he has subsequently sustained an injury. He will remain back at London Colney for treatment before flying out.
However, reports suggest that Partey could still leave the Emirates this summer, with a move to Saudi Arabia said to be a possibility. For the time being, though, he remains an Arsenal player.