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Sports News of Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Source: goal.com

Arsenal hopeful over Partey but also eye up Pereira

Arsenal could firm up interest in Porto's Danilo Pereira if Atletico Madrid refuse to soften their stance over Thomas Partey this summer.

Partey has been a long-term target of the Gunners, with their interest dating back well beyond Mikel Arteta’s arrival as head coach in December.

The Spaniard is also an admirer of the Ghana international, however, and would be happy to see him arrive this summer as he attempts to build a squad capable of competing for the top four next season.

Arsenal are aware that the 27-year-old has a €50 million (£44m/$54m) release clause in his current contract with Atletico, but a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and failure to qualify for the Champions League means that money is exceptionally tight at the Emirates.

The north London club have been attempting to explore other ways of striking a deal for the midfielder, who still has three years left on his current contract, but Atletico have made it known that they will not accept anything other than the release clause for a player they regard as key to Diego Simeone’s plans.

Simeone is desperate to keep hold of Partey and wants him to sign a new contract, one that would see his current release clause raised significantly.

But the Spanish giants are also struggling financially due to the ongoing pandemic and Goal has been told that they are not currently in a position to push ahead with the contract extension at this time.

They have made assurances to Partey, however, that he will be handed a major new deal as soon as the financial implications that have been brought on by Covid-19 begin to ease.

Sources close to Atletico insist that Partey is happy at the club and that they are confident he will agree to stay on, but they are expecting Arsenal’s pursuit of their player to continue.

Arsenal are willing to include Matteo Guendouzi as part of any deal, but Atletico are adamant that the only way Partey will leave the club this summer is if his release clause is activated.

Goal has been told the Gunners have made it known that they will not be paying the release clause, however, and remain hopeful that the Spanish side will soften their stance once they have completed their Champions League campaign next month.

Should a deal ultimately prove impossible, however, Arsenal could turn to Pereira as a potential alternative.

As first reported by ESPN and since confirmed by Goal, informal discussions have taken place over the 28-year-old Porto star, although no offer has been made.

The Portugal international is interested in a move to England and recently spoke out on speculation linking him with a switch to north London and revealed his admiration for Mikel Arteta.

“I think he is doing a really, really, good job there," Pereira told Stats Perform News.

"He is a Spanish coach, he is a bit similar to Portuguese coaches, they also want to play with the ball and improve with the ball, so I think he is a good coach.

"The style I think I can fit there, the way he plays also thinking on the ball, the team always has to be together I think it is a good way to play.

"Of course I like to be here in Porto to be here in my country, but I want to be in a better league like the Premier League. I always dreamed about playing in that league.”

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