L’Equipe had reported that Arsenal were close to signing the Brazilian winger, Bernard from Atletico Mineiro, and the Gunners have received a boost in their pursuit of the Copa Libertadores winner.
Mineiro’s director, Eduardo Maluf has said that Atletico will let Bernard leave for the right price. He said, “The president [Alexandre Kalil] has already made very clear, if an offer of €25m (£21.6m) arrives, we are to going to sell and we will buy another player. If this offer did not appear, Bernard will stay at Atletico. He is young and can leave at the end of the year.”
This was followed by a tweet from Bernard’s agent, Adriano Spadoto, who tweeted after the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which Mineiro won on penalties, “Congratulations Bernard. Double winner! Confederations Cup, Libertadores .. the perfect farewell.”
This has sparked a rush to buy Bernard, after this confirmation. He has been targeted by the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk and has even been the subject of a bid by FC Porto, who has their £15.5 million bid rejected. Arsenal’s foray into this saga will surely prompt other clubs into action, and bids for him are expected to come soon.
Bernard is a pacy winger, predominantly left footed, and plays on the left wing, but is capable of playing in all the three positions behind the striker. Though he is quite short, he stands at a small 5’4.5”, he is quick, and has eye for a pass, and can score a few too. If Gervinho’s expected transfer to Roma happens, then Arsenal will be in need of a winger, since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been converted into his favourite position, the central midfield at least judging by the preseason games.
This shortage of wingers will prompt Arséne Wenger into action over Bernard. He plans to keep Ryo Miyaichi at the club this year, saying after winning the Saitama Cup, with a narrow 2-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds, “I believe he [Ryo] is in a position where he needs to play to have a good chance of competing at the top level. At the moment he will stay in the squad. Should we buy more players, I will have to reassess the situation. At the moment he will stay with us.