Mertesacker backs Arteta to get Arsenal into Champions League
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Arsenal are ‘confident’ they can sign Lyon playmaker Lucas Paqueta despite fears that the Brazilian’s asking price might be too high, according to reports. The Gunners remain in the market for another midfielder to strengthen Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Paqueta has interest from all across Europe, with Arsenal facing competition from the likes of Newcastle and Roma. The attacking midfielder scored nine goals and provided a further six assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season.
Arsenal are one of the clubs who have kept tabs on the 24-year-old and could make a move. That is despite the north Londoners already adding former Porto ace Fabio Vieira to their midfield ranks this summer.
Lyon priced potential suitors out of a deal in January, valuing Paqueta at around £70million. However, president Jean-Michel Aulas will apparently now accept £55m – putting Arsenal on alert.
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According to CBS Sports, the French side accept that Paqueta wants to explore his options ahead of next season. Arsenal are said to be ‘confident’ they can persuade the former AC Milan star to move to the Emirates Stadium.
However, technical director Edu will not be dragged into a bidding war. That is the same stance the former Gunners midfielder had when pursuing deals for now-Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, who appears set to join Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Paqueta would be yet another expensive addition to Arteta’s squad should he join this summer. Arsenal have spent just under £90m on new players having also been England’s biggest spenders this time last year.
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Gabriel Jesus has arrived from Manchester City in a £45m deal and has already scored his first goals for the club. An international team-mate of Paqueta’s, Jesus bagged twice in the 5-3 win over German outfit Nurnberg last week.
Jesus joined attacking midfielder Vieira in bolstering Arteta’s side. Arsenal completed a £35m transfer to take the Portugal international from Porto.
Brazilian youngster Marquinhos has also been signed and the 19-year-old winger could make sporadic appearances for the first-team. The former Sao Paulo prospect will likely be eased into Arteta’s plans while featuring most prominently for the U21s.
Arteta is hoping his new signings can fire Arsenal into the Champions League after falling short last season. The Gunners were pipped to fourth place by north London rivals Tottenham following a poor end to the campaign.
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