If Arsenal offer players they will get a reduced price for William Carvalho, as talks with Sporting Lisbon advance over the weekend ahead of the summer transfer window closing in one week.
Talksport are running with a report from the Portuguese press that claims the Gunners are “deep” in talks with their Portuguese counterparts over a deal for the talented midfielder and have been told they can land him for less if they include some youngsters, taking the price down to £24.5million.
Arsene Wenger admitted recently that he was in the market for a defensive midfielder as he looks to upgrade his options in that area, but his need for a new face there may be more pressing than he had expected.
Mikel Arteta picked up an ankle injury in the first leg of the Gunners’ Champions League qualifier playoff with Besiktas of Turkey – a game which finished 0-0 – and a lengthy absence will cause problems for Wenger.
Arsenal’s captain is crucial to the way they play and has been a stalwart of the side, converting from a more attack-minded player into a deep-lying playmaker. Mathieu Flamini is a more natural defensive midfielder, but his distribution is nothing like as effective as Arteta’s – there’s also the fact that both of them are in their 30s now.
Carvalho has been impressive for Sporting in that position, combining physical power and a good passing range to make himself an integral member of Marco Silva’s squad.
Quartet of candidates
The Portuguese club’s financial situation make it difficult to hold on to their best players, but they hope that offering Arsenal a better price will see them be able to take on one or two of the Gunners’ youngsters on loan or permanently.
Yaya Sanogo, Serge Gnabry, Francis Coquelin and Ryo Miyaichi are the four players mentioned as possible makeweights, all of whom could do with some regular playing time.