Football

Arsenal close to signing Mile Svilar

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Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Anderlecht goalkeeper Mile Svilar, who is also wanted by Manchester United and Chelsea, and has been compared to his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois.

This is according to the Metro, who cite Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblad as confirming that the highly-rated 15-year-old is a top transfer target for the Gunners.

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Arsenal to invite Svilar to north London

Arsenal want Svilar, who has previously been trialled by Chelsea, to join their Under-18 team in the New Year and are planning for the teenager to come to north London for a look around the club's training complex ahead of a potential move to the Emirates Stadium.

If successful in their pursuit, Svilar's signature would represent a major coup for the Gunners. Youth coaches in Belgium have hailed the youngster as the most talented keeper they've seen at his age since Courtois who, at 22, is already arguably the world's best player in his position.

Svilar played against Arsenal this week

Svilar, who turned 15 in August, played against Arsenal for Anderlecht in the Under-19 Champions League earlier this week. And while he conceded three goals on the night - Anderlecht still secured a 4-3 victory - it was not a display that would have harmed his chances of sealing a move to the Gunners or any other interested club.

Despite his immense talent and potential, it will still be a few years before Svilar is ready to play Premier League football for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger may decide to use the young keeper in the same way Chelsea used Courtois after signing him from Genk in 2011.

Will Arsenal use Svilar like Chelsea used Courtois?

The Blues sent Courtois out on loan to Atletico Madrid for three consecutive seasons - and the 6ft 6in shot-stopper cemented his status as one of Europe's best during his immensely successful spell at the Vicente Calderon.

The main reason Chelsea opted against using Courtois sooner was because Petr Cech was still at his peak, but Jose Mourinho knew he had to make the switch this season with the former's contract edging closer to its expiry date.

Whether Arsenal adopt a similar approach will depend on the form of their current number one, Wojciech Szczesny, over who doubts still persist.

The Gunners have lacked a reliable, first-class goalkeeper since David Seaman - Jens Lehmann was talented but temperamental - and Svilar, if the hype is to be believed, could be the man Arsenal have been crying out for for years.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Chelsea
Arsenal
Premier League
Thibaut Courtois
Football

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