Gunners close in on Spurs target after secret talks.
Arsenal could be close to announcing the surprise signing of prolific Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao after holding secret talks with with his club Internacional, CaughtOffside understands.
The 24-year-old has been widely tipped to be making a move to Europe this summer after some impressive performances in his native Brazil and for the national team, and Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham looked to be in the driving seat for him earlier in the summer.
However, with Spurs switching their attentions to Roberto Soldado, whom they signed for £26million from Valencia, their interest in Damiao has cooled, leaving Arsenal to approach him as an option to solve their problems upfront.
Arsene Wenger has been keen to add more firepower to his side and sign him real competition for current first-choice striker Olivier Giroud, but has missed out on some big-name targets such as Gonzalo Higuain, who eventually left Real Madrid for Napoli, and Luis Suarez, who looks to be staying at Liverpool.
The likes of Swansea City’s Michu and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema have also been linked with the Gunners in recent weeks, but could be a little out of their reach financially, while Damiao is supposedly available for as little as £16million.
With an impressive record of 83 goals in 149 games for Internacional, as well as 3 in 15 caps for Brazil, £16million looks a good price for Arsenal as they look to add a regular goal scorer to their ranks.
Their need for new signings has only increased over the last 24 hours, with German forward Lukas Podolski set for three weeks out with injury after being stretchered off in last night’s 2-0 win over Fenerbahce, and Wenger’s worry over a lack of squad depth is understood to have pushed talks with Damiao and Internacional to a more advanced stage.
Damiao is tall, strong and skillful, and looks like he wouldn’t have too much trouble adapting to life in the Premier League, and his ability to finish chances should see him find the back of the net on a regular basis for Arsenal, who are known for creating plenty of chances through their skillful playmakers such as Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
It is not yet clear when the deal will be announced, but Arsenal are confident that negotiations with both the club and player are progressing well, and will hope to tie up a deal before the end of the summer transfer window next Monday.