Arsenal sporting director Edu has made “personal checks” on Sao Paulo midfielder Pablo Maia, according to TEAMTalk.
The website claims that the Gunners have been keeping an eye on the 21-year-old’s development, with the belief that he has the ability to make the step up and play in the Premier League.
Maia is unlikely to be as expensive as some of the other midfielders that Edu and his recruitment team have been tracking in recent weeks.
It is believed that Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz could cost as much as £60m, while alternatives such as Royal Antwerp’s Arthur Vermeeren and Fluminense’s Andre are said to be valued at around £30m.
TEAMTalk claims that Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips is another player that has been considered, with manager Mikel Arteta a fan of the England international, but it is unlikely that the Premier League champions would be prepared to sell him to a direct rival.
What do Arsenal fans need to know about Pablo Maia?
Despite his age, the midfielder has already made 114 senior appearances for Sao Paulo, making his first-team debut in the Paulista State Championship during a 0-0 draw against Ituano in January 2022.
Maia has quickly established himself as a regular starter over the last two years, helping his side reach the final of the Copa Sudamericana last season and winning the Brazilian Cup back in September.
Would Maia be a replacement for Thomas Partey?
The Brazilian is a holding midfield player. He has played the odd game as a centre-back but, for the most part, Sao Paulo have tasked him with breaking up play in the middle of the park. You will, therefore, not be surprised to learn that he has picked up 26 yellow cards and 2 reds in his senior career so far.
It is very likely that Edu sees Maia as a potential alternative for Partey, whose injury record over the past three years has forced the Gunners into looking for a replacement.