Thursday, March 30, 2023

ALMOST DONE: Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke 'leading' Chelsea and Barcelona race for 'greatest' Brazilian prodigy

Arsenal are leading the race for Brazilian wonderkid Vitor Roque, according to reports in Spain. The Gunners are said to be in the best position to sign the striker ahead of Chelsea and Barcelona.

The forward has become one of the hottest South American prospects after his superb performances at the 2023 South American U20 Championship earlier this year. Roque played eight games throughout the tournament, finishing as joint top-scorer with six goals alongside Chelsea’s Andrey Santos

His performances in Columbia resulted in him being included in the senior team for the international friendly defeat to Morocco this month, receiving his first cap as a 65th-minute substitute.

The 18-year-old has previously declared his dream to play for Barcelona before insisting he has no preference over where he ends up. “I prefer to focus on the present instead of the future, because today is more important than tomorrow,” he told AS.

“My future is in the hands of God, so I am going to keep working with humility. My future will be a result of the work I do today… I try not to think about things that go on off the pitch. I don’t have a preferred club. I think that right now, Paranaense is the best fit for me.”

Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, the Gunners have moved ahead of Chelsea and Barcelona in the race for the teenager. The report from Spain claims his father, Juvenal Ferreira, and his representatives have flown to London to discuss a potential deal to the Premier League.

It’s said that Roque’s representatives have turned their nose up at a move to Nou Camp because of the dire financial situation at the club. Despite signing Robert Lewandoski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Franck Kessie last summer, there are serious questions over whether they’ll be able to sign any players this year.

Furthermore, the report from Spain claims Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar has been in contact with the teenager ‘for months’. Should the Spaniard manage to lure the striker to north London, the club’s attacking options will remain in good hands for years to come.

Former Brazil national team head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has gone on record to predict how far Roque can go in his career. Speaking after the striker scored two goals in Athletico Panaraense’s 3-2 win over Atletico Mineiro in August, Scolari said: “He will become one of the greatest players we have ahead of us. He’s new, still has something to learn.”

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