Arsenal have identified River Plate midfielder Juan Quintero as a summer transfer target, with Mesut Ozil edging closer to the exit door.
According to Don Balon, Gunners boss Unai Emery is hoping to replace Ozil when the transfer window reopens in May, with his future at the Emirates Stadium now in major doubt after a difficult 2018-19 campaign which has seen him fall way down the pecking order at the club.
Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez had been Arsenal’s main target, but it looks increasingly likely that the Colombian will return to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer after his loan spell at Bayern Munich, rather than seek a move elsewhere.
Don Balon reports that the next man on Arsenal’s list is another Colombian star, Juan Quintero, who plays in South America with River Plate and could be available for as little as €22 million later in the year.
The Gunners are eyeing a transfer swoop for the 26-year-old who announced himself on the biggest stage at the 2018 World Cup, playing a starring role during Colombia’s run to the last-16 of the competition.
Quintero also produced a standout display for River Plate at club level in the Copa Libertadores final last year, scoring the decisive extra-time goal in a 3-1 win against arch-rivals Boca Juniors.
The mercurial superstar is a creative midfielder with the same attributes as Ozil, technically proficient, with an eye for a pass, but he is also a brilliant dribbler and set-piece expert.
Arsenal have lacked a spark in the middle of the pitch this season, relying far too much on the goals of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to bail them out of trouble, with very little support behind them.
Quintero certainly has the quality and experience to add a new dimension to Emery’s side and for a bargain price, the club would be foolish not to lodge a formal bid this summer.
It remains to be seen whether or not the River Plate talisman will favour a move to the Premier League, but if Arsenal could persuade him to leave South America it would represent a huge coup for the club and its supporters.