Arsenal ‘close in on £20m transfer’ for teenage striker who wowed Edu and Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal are reportedly close to signing Sporting Lisbon striker Tiago Tomas in a deal worth £20m. Both manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are said to have been impressed by Tomas after watching his recent performance against Benfica in preparation for the Gunners’ trip to the Stadio Olimpico in the Europa League.

The Sun are reporting that Edu has been in contact with Hugo Viana, Sporting’s director of football, about a potential deal.

The 18-year-old put pen to paper on a five-year deal last June which is thought to have included a £52m release clause.

However, the report claims that the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means Sporting are willing to sell Tomas for less than half that figure.

Tomas has featured in every league game for Sporting so far this season but he has made just seven starts, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

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Speaking last month, Tomas told Liga Portugal that playing for Sporting’s first team was a “dream come true”.

He said: “It’s been a dream come true and I’m very grateful.

“I’m so happy to have got here but I’m here because of the hard work I’ve done in training.”

Tomas also paid tribute to manager Ruben Amorim, adding: “It’s a privilege for me. He was the one who launched me and I just have to say thank you.

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“It has been great for me and for the youngsters in the squad. We have done a good job and he is helping us a lot.”

The Sun also claim that Arsenal are keen to make a move soon as they do not want to risk missing out on the player.

The report cites former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger missing out on signing Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United in 2003, with Wenger later claiming Ronaldo “had the shirt”.

Speaking to the Guardian last October, Wenger was asked about the one failed transfer he regrets the most and the Frenchman named Ronaldo.

Wenger said: “Oof! I would say there is not one player, there are 50! On the other hand, maybe the closest [to that] was Cristiano Ronaldo, when he signed for Man United.

“We had an agreement with Sporting and Man United took Carlos Queiroz as assistant coach, and they just outbid us quickly and took Ronaldo. But we had an agreement basically.

“He had the shirt of Arsenal, I had lunch with him and his mother at the training ground!

“It’s one example but there were so many. The history of a big club is full of missed great players!”

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