Arsenal want to complete a deal for Gelson Martins as soon as they can, according to reports in Italy, but they face competition from Lazio.

Radiosei report that ‘Arsenal would like to close (a deal for Martins) as soon as possible’. Portuguese outlet Diario de Noticias wrote recently that Lazio were ‘unlikely’ to provide much competition, but TuttoMercatoWeb claim the Italian side have an advantage in the form of Jorge Mendes.

Mendes doesn’t represent Martins, but reportedly could have an influence in the future of the player. Lazio’s director of football knows the agent well, so it’s always possible he could use him to swing the race in their favour.

Arsenal are still the favourites at this stage though. The Portuguese media linked the club to a couple of bids for the player even before his contract dispute.

Since then, Martins has attempted to start the process to terminate his deal with Sporting, so he can leave the club for free. He’s invoking ‘just cause’ as a result of a recent attacking on the club’s training ground. However, a court has to determine whether his request is legitimate.

If his contract termination attempt fails, Gelson Martins has a €60m (£52.7m) release clause with his current club.

The winger scored 13 goals and assisted 13 more in 2017/18, and is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal.