Samba wonderkid set for Emirates switch…
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Premier League giants Arsenal are ready to take advantage of a Brazilian prodigy’s homesickness in Ukraine…
Caught Offside understands that the Gunners are tracking Shakhtar Donetsk’s young playmaker Bernard, who moved from Atlteico Mineiro after winning the Copa Libertadores with his club, and the Confederations Cup with Brazil last summer.
The 21-year-old signed for a very large fee, despite the interest of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, but has struggled to implement himself as a key Shakhtar player.
He was used very much as a rotation option, being given only 10 starts in all competitions, and is totally demoralised as a result.
“In Brazil, I was used to playing on Wednesdays and Sundays, but Shakhtar have not played more than 25 games so far. Playing is very little hard for me, it’s complicated. Hopefully this will change. I leave my future in God’s hands,” Bernard told waiting Brazilian journalists as he arrived home to link up with the World Cup squad, hinting that his future might lie elsewhere.
With Arsenal having qualified for the Champions League ahead of next term, and hoping to go far in both the FA and League Cups, Bernard would have far more games from which he could play if he were to move to England.
Arsene Wenger is known to appreciate Bernard’s superb close control, his trickery in the final third, and his ability to create chances out of nothing. He prefers to play wide on the left, but can also be deployed centrally in a no.10 role.
As a result of his talent, Bernard has been selected in Brazil’s World Cup squad, ahead of the likes of PSG’s Lucas Moura and Liverpool’s Coutinho.
In this respect, he provides a trickier and faster option than Lukas Podolski on the left, and a solid rotation option for Mesut Ozil in the middle.
Wenger has shown in the past he can develop talented young stars into genuine world-beaters, and has seen something in Bernard that he’d like to work with.
The only stumbling block though might be his price-tag. Shakhtar broke the bank for his signature last year, and would likely demand close to £20m for his services – which for a Brazilian who has yet to play well in Europe – is risky.