Arsenal step closer to signing Benfica striker Rodrigo

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Football News

Arsenal are heading closer towards signing Benfica striker Rodrigo after the player made clear he won't move to Russia, reports in Portugal suggest.

Benfica were thought to be close to agreeing a €30m deal for Rodrigo with Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg, before the player's father told the club that his son had no interest in moving to a less competitive league.

However, because of financial difficulty, Benfica are keen to offload more players once Nemanja Matic completes his anticipated move to Chelsea.

That, according to O Jogo, has opened the door for Arsene Wenger, who has been on the lookout for a new striker following injuries to Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner.

Reports have linked the Gunners with moves for Jackson Martinez, Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa but January deals for each of the above remains unlikely.

But with Benfica keen to sell, Arsenal have sensed the opportunity after scouts, present at the game against Porto, watched him score the opening goal in a 2-0 win; no doubt leaving them impressed.

The 22-year-old joined Benfica from Real Madrid in 2010 and has started to show his ability, scoring five goals in nine starts.

It is unlikely that Arsenal will match the reported €30m that Gazprom-backed Zenit offered, but with the player eager to move to a more competitive league, the Gunners could convince cash-strapped Benfica in to a cheaper deal.

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