Arsenal prepared to spend £24m on Rodrigo

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Arsenal are prepared to pay a staggering £24m in order to sign Benfica striker Rodrigo, who has scored 18 goals in 40 appearances for the Europa League finalists this season. The Gunners, however, may need to fend off stiff competition from La Liga giants Valencia.

Reports from Spain claim Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is desperate to secure the services of the former Spain Under-23 international who enjoyed a brief spell playing in the Premier League with Bolton during the 2010/11 campaign. Although he only managed to score one goal in England’s top domestic league, the young Brazil-born star has blossomed into one of Europe’s most promising strikers.

Wenger is keen to sign Rodrigo, who has scored 45 goals in 117 appearances for Benfica, to ease the pressure on the Gunners’ first-choice striker Olivier Giroud, who grew increasingly tired as the 2013/14 campaign reached its conclusion after playing so many matches in the first half of the season.

However, signing the Benfica star could prove troublesome as Valencia’s new owner Peter Lim has an investment group who own the forward’s rights, according to the Daily Star. If Lim and Valencia want the forward at the Mestalla next season, they will obviously have first refusal. But the new Los Che owner may decide to cash in if Arsenal’s bid proves tempting enough.

As well as Rodrigo, Arsenal have also been strongly linked with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in recent weeks. The France international, however, would cost significantly more than the Benfica forward.

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