Arsenal are ready to step up their attempts to sign Gremio midfielder Bitello, according to Correio do Povo.
The Brazilian outlet claims that the Gunners are preparing to “send a proposal”, with an “official document” expected to arrive “in the coming days”.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Mikel Arteta’s side have been keeping tabs on Bitello but it appears that they are now ramping up their efforts to secure the player’s signature.
Correiro do Povo say a delegation of “representatives” from Arsenal will arrive in Porto Alegre to start negotiations and they will be present for Gremio’s game against Bahia in the Copo do Brasil on Wednesday evening.
The competition is at the quarter-final stage, and it is a two-legged affair, with the aggregate score 1-1 after the first game. Bitello played the full 90 minutes in the match last week and he is expected to be in the starting eleven again with Gunners officials watching on.
How much will Bitello cost?
Gremio only own 70% of the player’s rights, with the remaining 30% owned by his previous team FC Cascavel. For their share, Gremio are demanding €10m (£8.5m) and, you can assume that Cascavel will want around £3.5m on top of that (based on Gremio’s valuation).
£12m for a relatively unproven player from South America does seem like a lot of money, so we shall see if sporting director Edu and his negotiating team can lower the price, perhaps by using add-ons and potential sell-on clauses.
Arsenal would be getting a very versatile player
This season alone, Bitello has been deployed as a holding midfielder, central midfield player, a no.10 and as a right winger by Gremio.
It is possible that the Gunners are considering the 23-year-old as a relatively cheap addition to provide cover for Bukayo Saka.
The England international had to play a lot of football last season, and reports over the past week have suggested that Arteta does want to add another winger to his squad to take some of the workload off the player.
Other names have been linked in recent weeks, such as Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby, PSV’s Xavi Simons and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze but they are pretty expensive.
In contrast, Bitello is available for a fraction of the price, and there is the added benefit that he can play in multiple positions, making him a useful utility option who could fill in as and when needed.