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Arsenal have already made two signings despite the transfer window being open for less than a week.
Hours after Arsenal confirmed their second signing Takuma Asano from J1 League, ESPN Brazil published a report linking them with a move for teenage striker Gabriel Barbosa, who has allegedly been attracting interest from Fiorentina and a host of Chinese clubs.
Background and playing style
Making his first-team breakthrough for Santos in 2014, the 19-year-old has scored 21 goals and collected 12 assists in 77 appearances, thus becoming an integral part of the Santos side that lifted the Campeonato Paulista titles in 2015 and 2016.
Consistent top performances for Santos earned him his first international cap on 29 May 2016; he has made a solid start to his international career, grabbing two goals in four appearances so far.
He will likely embellish his international statistics at 2016 Summer Olympics, though he is expected to play second fiddle to more established stars like Douglas Costa.
Known for his dribbling ability, he is a complete player, whose finishing and technique are on point. Pacy, he excels both down the flanks and up front, thus making him an asset any top side would drool over.
Though many compare him to his former Santos teammate Neymar, Brazil football experts believe he boasts a playing style completely different to the Barcelona talisman’s style.
Arsenal’s latest signing
Gabigol is touted to become world-class material shortly. The fact that he has already made his way into the Brazil national team underlines his credentials. However, Arsenal only recently signed Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Although Gabigol is two years younger than Asano, signing the former would be in no way different from the former’s arrival as both would only be future projects.
Signing the Brazilian instead of the Japanese would definitely have made more sense, but with Asano’s arrival done and dusted, Gabigol may not end up posing for Stuart MacFarlane with an Arsenal shirt.
Arseblog’s Tim Stillman also rubbished the rumours recently.
“I read the report and I don’t see a lot of foundation to it, it’s all very vague,” wrote the Brazil football expert. “He wants to go to Europe after the Olympics for definite. He wants a big European club and there is interest, but the only club with money down at the moment are a Chinese club and Fiorentina. He wants a bigger European club, so I reckon it’s probably his agent using us to create interest.”
Need of the hour
Gabigol has a good chance of joining the Europe’s elites in the near future.
However, the Gunners already have half a dozen interesting striker prospects in the youth setup, including the up and coming duo in Stephy Mavididi and Donyell Malen.
Arsenal’s immediate need is a striker, who can challenge Olivier Giroud for a place in the starting lineup, and with Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette (HT Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph) reportedly being scouted, Arsenal should first look to seal a deal for a senior striker before thinking about investing in future prospects.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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