Arsenal are set to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Mario Suarez in January.
This is according to Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda - and brought to our attention by the Daily Star - who understands it is ‘highly likely’ that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger wants the Spain international to bolster his midfield options in the New Year.
While the Gunners have been strongly linked with Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho - latest reports suggest a £25.5 million bid has been tabled - it’s believed that Arsenal will only sign one midfielder, as well as a new centre-back, in January.
Chances of deal happening
The transfer window re-opens on Saturday January 3 and Arsenal will attempt to get their business done as soon as possible, but how willing will Atletico be to the idea of selling Suarez - and will the player be keen to leave the Vicente Calderon?
It’s no surprise that Arsenal are keen on Suarez, who speaks exceptional English and, most importantly, is a very competent holding midfielder who would be an upgrade on Mathieu Flamini.
Suarez made 24 appearances for Atletico last season as Diego Simeone’s side went on to win their first La Liga title since 1996. He would have played more minutes had it not been for a series of untimely injuries and suspensions.
It’s been a similar story this season: Suarez has only made nine La Liga appearances for Atleti so far this term. However, that has not deterred Wenger from making a move for the 27-year-old.
Suarez: Atletico Madrid youth product
Suarez, though, might be reluctant to leave Atletico for Arsenal for several reasons. The first is that he’s been with the reigning Spanish champions since the age of 11, when he joined the club’s youth ranks.
He is currently working under - and learning from - one of the world’s most revered coaches in the form of Simeone and, when fit and available, is an important first-team regular for the club.
But the chance to sign a lucrative contract at the Emirates Stadium while joining fellow Spaniards including Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla could prove tempting for the La Liga champion.
The deal will only happen, though, if Atletico Madrid believe it works in their favour.