It is looking increasingly unlikely that Brazilian wonderkid Bernard will join Arsenal this summer…
Shakhtar have stolen a march on the rest of Europe in the battle for Brazilian prodigy Bernard’s signature, reports The Express.
The 20-year-old Atletico Mineiro playmaker has been interesting clubs like Tottenham and Liverpool, and was reportedly very close to finalising a deal to join Arsenal last week.
After winning the South American equivalent of the Champions league, the Copa Libertadores, with his club last week, Bernard bid farewell to the fans ahead of his imminent move to Europe.
His agent Adriano Spadotto wants his player to move to Porto, who he still thinks are in pole position for the coveted signature.
“I can confirm that is the strongest possibility, but Shakhtar are interested too. He should join one of the two clubs,” he said.
“If it is up to me, Bernard will be a Porto player. As I have said, this would be the best solution for him. He would prefer to join a middling, but good, club in Europe rather than risk joining an elite club and not getting the chance to play.”
Porto and Shakhtar both have great records of developing South American talent, and unlike Arsenal, seem willing to pay the required £22m fee.
Both sides have money to spend after making huge profits this summer. Shakhtar sold Fernandinho and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for almost £60m, while Porto shipped out James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho for a similar fee.
Arsenal have already missed out on Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli, have had multiple bids for Luis Suarez rejected, and look likely to miss out on Bernard, too.
To the increasing frustration of Gunners fans, the only new player signed so far this summer has been young French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer.