Arsenal rivalled for transfer of 'next Neymar'

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2023 16:47 BST
  • 4 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2022/23
© ProShots

Lazio are working hard on a deal to sign Santos star Marcos Leonardo, according to Italian media.

Admirers have dubbed the 20-year-old the 'next Neymar' and it's not hard to see why: Leonardo is an exciting young talent with an eye for goal. Unsurprisingly, then, he has become the subject of links to some of Europe's biggest clubs.

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As we exclusively reported on July 13, Arsenal have been keeping a keen eye on the development of the attacker and it is thought that the Gunners are very interested in signing him. Leonardo has already found the back of the net six times in 11 Serie A games for Santos this term, after hitting 13 over the course of the entire 2022 season.

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Despite the Gunners' proclivity for signing Brazilian talent, they won't have it easy if they want to convince Leonardo to come to north London - and if they keep dragging their feet, he will be playing in the Italian Serie A next term.

Marcos Leonardo
© ProShots - Marcos Leonardo

Lazio very keen

According to Calciomercato, Lazio remain very keen indeed on Leonardo despite seeing their initial offer rebuffed by Santos. The capital club proposed a reported fee of €12-13 million plus bonuses, but their Brazilian counterparts are asking for more.

This rejection caused Lazio to look elsewhere and they ended up signing Taty Castellanos - who famously scored four goals against Real Madrid in April - for €15m from New York City FC instead.

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Nevertheless, with rumours about Ciro Immobile's potential departure abounding, the Romans want to bring in another forward as they prepare for Champions League football.

Though signing a midfielder is a higher priority right now, Lazio want to give it another shot in going for Leonardo. However, if they can't find a European solution for their midfield spot, they won't be able to sign the Brazilian as they only have one non-EU spot available.

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