Arsenal are close to finally completing a big money signing - although it's not for Luis Suarez or Gonzalo Higuain - but instead a 20-year-old from Brazil.
The Evening Standard report that the Gunners are in 'advanced negotiations' to sign Brazil international Bernard.
It is though the transfer will cost Arsenal in the region of £21m, while sources in France suggest the Atletico Mineiro player has agreed a five-year contract worth £50,000-a-week after tax and will be in London on Friday for a medical.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was asked about the rumours following his side's victory over Nagoya Grampus, to which he replied: "That report is not true." However, Wenger is renowned for being secretive over transfer dealings and has denied stories in the past only for the deal to then materialise.
Arsenal have been frustrated in the transfer market but signing Bernard would be a major coup. Tottenham, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto have all been linked with making a move for him.
The 20-year-old is a highly rated playmaker in Brazil and can operate on the wing or in the centre of midfield.
He has five caps and hopes to be part of Brazil’s squad when they host the World Cup next year. Bernard has already enjoyed an impressive career for Atletico and has scored an impressive 21 goals in 97 appearances for the club.
A deal would outstrip the £15m Wenger paid for Andrei Arshavin in 2009.
The Arsenal manager has £70m to spend on players and is desperately looking to buy a striker to strengthen the frontline. However, he is in serious danger of losing out to Napoli for Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain while Liverpool continue to insist Luis Suarez is not for sale.
Arsenal’s current main striker, Olivier Giroud, took his pre-season tally to six goals in three games as he headed home the opener in a 3-1 win over Nagoya Grampus today.
Japan winger Ryo Miyaichi scored from the penalty spot while Theo Walcott clipped home the third after a fine through ball from Gedion Zelalem.
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