Arsenal boss Arteta must undo ‘verbal agreement’ to steal Klopp target Andre

Mikel Arteta fumes at Newcastle's winning goal against Arsenal

Arsenal may consider stealing Andre Trindade from right under Liverpool’s noses as they look to improve their situation in the centre of the park during the winter transfer window. Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice are two of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet but the third midfield spot has proved to be harder to fill.

Arteta has been rotating between Emile Smith-Rowe, Jorginho, Fabio Vieira and Kai Havertz to varying degrees of success while Thomas Partey remains out injured. Against Newcastle on Saturday there was a distinct lack of fluidity and stability down the middle with no Odegaard in the side.

Jorginho and Havertz started alongside Rice in midfield and didn’t do much to get the ball moving. When Vieira then replaced Jorginho near the end he became a passenger as the Gunners fell to their first defeat of the season.

Arsenal desperately need another quality midfielder and Liverpool target Andre fits that profile. The Fluminese star was outstanding during the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors on Saturday as helped his side lift their first continental trophy. 

Andre has a verbal agreement in place with Fluminense’s president Mario Bittencourt to leave the club at the end of the Serie A season in December. Liverpool are reportedly hoping to snap him up in January and appear the frontrunners after failing to secure his signature in the summer.

“In the case of Liverpool, I go even further. Liverpool’s chief executive [Billy Hogan] contacted me directly,” Bittencourt told ESPN in September. “I replied to him: ‘My friend, I don’t sell players now and I don’t deliver them now. If you want to buy now, and only get the player in January, we can start talking… Or if you want to wait until December, we can talk in December.'”

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Andre went further in explaining why a summer move didn’t materialise. “I think every player one-day dreams of playing for a big club in Europe, in a big league,” he said. “But I decided to keep my word because when the January window closed, Diniz [Fluminense manager] arrived and told me that he wanted me here until the end of the year.

“We didn’t know that a proposal of that amount would arrive and I told him that, regardless of what happened, I would be there until the end of the season. It ended up passing and arriving in the middle of the year, we were still in the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores. It was a very difficult decision to make. I think if I had accepted this proposal, I don’t know if I would have felt 100% comfortable because I had already agreed with Diniz.

“At the end of the year, I don’t know what will happen, many things could happen. I’m sure that just having arrived here, knowing that it worked, was something that helped me a lot as a person and also helped me in my career. I think that as Diniz said, when we make the right choice, when we are faithful and when we act honestly, good things always happen ahead.”

Arsenal will have to put in a lot of work to persuade Andre to come to the Emirates with Liverpool having already launched their charm offensive.

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