Arsenal are leading the race to sign Sporting CP right-back Cristiano Piccini ahead of Juventus and West Ham United, according to reports.
The Mirror write that the Portuguese club will demand £17.5m for the full-back, and Arsenal are in ‘pole position’ to complete a deal. The player reportedly impressed club scouts.
For what it’s worth, this all fits with other reports we’ve covered in recent weeks.
Portuguese publications Record and O Jogo both reported Arsenal scouts have watched Sporting CP recently. It’s perfectly possible they’ve been following the team over the course of the season to keep an eye on Piccini.
Meanwhile, earlier this week we heard from Jornal de Noticias that Arsenal were prepared to make a €20m (£17.5m) offer for the player.
Of course, Arsenal changing manager puts a bit of a spanner in the works. We don’t know if the new boss will be as keen to part with some of his budget for a right-back. Especially when Hector Bellerin has already nailed down the position at such a young age.
Piccini only signed for Sporting last summer, moving from Real Betis for £2.58m, and signing a contract until 2022.
Three goals in 22 Liga NOS appearances means he’s certainly no Nacho Monreal, but the full-back comes with high concentration levels which would be useful in Arsenal’s backline.
We’ll see how this story progresses when the club appoint a new manager.