Arsenal to copy Brighton as Arteta rivals Liverpool for Argentine wonderkid

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 22 Jan 2024 19:56 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Roberto De Zerbi
© ProShots

Arsenal are reportedly interested in following Brighton & Hove Albion’s lead by signing one of Boca Juniors’ most promising youngsters.

Valentin Barco, 19, has joined Brighton for €9 million after the Seagulls fought off competition from Manchester City and Chelsea, and Arsenal now want to sign his former team-mates Ezequiel Fernandez.

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That is according to Argentine publication El Crack Deportivo, who have stated that Boca are worried about losing Fernandez after seeing Barco depart for the Premier League.

The report indicates that Fernandez could cost €15m, with Arsenal set to send scouts to watch him in action for Argentina U23s during the 2024 CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament.

The Gunners have been linked with signing a new central midfielder for several months as Mikel Arteta looks to strengthen that area of the pitch.

Douglas Luiz is a priority target, although Aston Villa’s potential asking price is a concern, while Joao Palhinha is also on Arsenal’s radar.

Benfica, Inter Milan and Sevilla are reportedly also keeping tabs on Fernandez, while Liverpool were heavily linked with a move in 2023.

Liverpool to compete for Fernandez signing?

Valentin Barco has joined Brighton from Boca Juniors
© ProShots - Valentin Barco has joined Brighton from Boca Juniors

Liverpool signed Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion last summer and their new midfielder is a huge fan of Fernandez. He told TyC Sports, as per AnfieldWatch: “If you ask me a little more about my style, there is a player that I really like and that is Equi Fernández. He is a player who has all the conditions to reach Europe one day and I hope that can happen to him.

“He is a player that I like a lot, he understands the game a lot. He is always prepared to receive the ball, he plays with both legs, he can play as a five, as an inside player… he is a player who has certain very good conditions and, if Brighton asked me, I would say his name.”

Fernandez, 21, has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €6.6m, although Boca Juniors appear set to demand over double that amount.

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