Arsenal ‘close in’ on fourth summer signing; Gunners to keep Partey after pulling out of race for Liverpool target

Arsenal are ‘close’ making highly-rated Gremio midfielder Bitello their fourth signing of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

Mikel Arteta has already brought in Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber as he looks to build on an excellent 2022/23 campaign.

Arsenal’s transfer business is far from done, though. Arteta has admitted that offloading unwanted players is his priority, saying in a recent interview that a 30-man squad is ‘unsustainable.’

Nevertheless, reports suggest that a deal for Bitello is close to being struck. According to Tuttomercatoweb, Arsenal are on the verge of bringing the Brazilian to the Emirates and will pay €8m (£6.9m) for his services.

The Gunners allegedly sent a delegation to watch Bitello in action during a recent quarter-final match with Bahia, where he played the full 90 minutes.

The 23-year-old was a key player in Gremio’s return to the Brazilian top flight last season, scoring seven goals and making three assists.

A versatile player, Bitello has the ability to play as a defensive, central or attacking midfielder, or as a right midfielder, too. So he could provide cover in several areas for Arteta.

He has contributed another seven goals and four assists from 36 games so far in the 2023 season, so it’s no surprise to see Arsenal pushing for his signature.

This comes amid reports that Arsenal have pulled out of the race for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia.

Arsenal were thought to be battling Liverpool for Lavia but it now seems Arteta has opted to keep hold of Thomas Partey for another season instead.

This was confirmed by transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano. On Twitter, he wrote: “Arsenal are not active in Romeo Lavia race now as Thomas Partey has good chances to stay.

“Saudi clubs approached Gunners days ago, Juventus called in June but never close to €40/45m package requested by Arsenal. Huge bid or Thomas stays. Arteta is happy with him.”

As a result, it now seems Liverpool are the firm favourites to sign Lavia this summer. As reported by Football365, the Reds have made ‘anther approach’ for Lavia after selling Jordan Henderson to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq.

As for Arsenal, everything now points towards Bitello making the switch to the Emirates this summer. He is unlikely to become an instant starter, but he could be an excellent back-up option for the likes of Rice, Partey and Odegaard this season.

READ MORE: Chelsea target ‘prefers’ Arsenal transfer with ‘crazy offer’ needed to complete raid on European giants


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