It was recently reported that Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos had agreed a deal to join Barcelona in a deal worth around €50 million.
That, however, might not be the case.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Arsenal have joined the hunt for the unsettled defender as they attempt to breathe new life into their defence.
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Marquinhos, 21, is one of the most talented players in Europe but his three years at PSG have been spent in and out of the starting line-up as he wrestles for a place with Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
Quite how he loses the battle to Luiz only Laurent Blanc knows. Still, Marquinhos has started only 22 games this season.
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The L’Equipe story of Arsenal’s interest was brought to our attention by Sport Witness, who add that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is likely to try to convince the Brazilian to stay in Paris.
That could be easier said that done. A player of Marquinhos’ talent deserves to be playing regularly and, though PSG can meet the player’s wage demands, he will be joining Europe’s best if he heads to the Camp Nou.
Arsenal join a number of interested clubs
Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are all reportedly interested and Arsenal are the latest team to throw their hat into the ring.
Though Barca, Madrid and Bayern can all guarantee Marquinhos appearances in the Champions League semi-finals, Arsenal would be an ideal location for the 21-year-old to revive his career and develop his skills before moving on to one of Europe’s top three teams.
Per Mertesacker could leave the Emirates Stadium in the summer, leaving Arsene Wenger with just three centre-backs in Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers.
Gabriel remains inconsistent while Chambers is raw. Whether it’s Marquinhos or not, Wenger will almost certainly be eyeing a new defender in the transfer window.
So he might as well go for one who commanded a £27 million transfer fee as a 19-year-old.
Destined for the top
Marquinhos’ hasn’t emerged as one of Europe’s premier defenders but that is through no fault of his own.
Frequently deployed at right-back by Blanc, the defender’s talent has never been questioned.
He played for Brazil at last year’s Copa America and it surely won’t be long before he is above the error-prone Luiz on the depth chart.
If Arsenal are to contend for the Premier League again next season, the addition of Marquinhos could be just what they need. The Gunners have been caught out by the pace of the opposition on regular occurrences this season, a weakness the former Roma man would be quick to resolve.
If PSG requested £40m, it would be interesting to see Wenger’s reaction. After the misery of this season, he must begin to take some risks or his 20-year tenure at north London could be over.