Arsenal have entered the race to sign Vitoria de Guimaraes midfielder Ibrahima Bamba in January, Portuguese outlet O Jogo claim (today’s edition, page 19).
The Gunners have been terrific during the first half of the season and they are currently five points ahead of Manchester City for the top spot in the Premier League.
The Kroenke family are prepared to back manager Mikel Arteta with funds this winter and the onus could be on pursuing a couple of young stars with potential.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk is the top target to bolster the attack, but the Gunners will also want to sign a quality defensive midfielder next month.
O Jogo now report that the Gunners have been scouting Bamba over the last few months and could step up with a formal approach in the next transfer window.
Bamba, who currently has a €30m release clause on his contract, is also on the radar of Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta and Villarreal. Vitoria are open to offers.
Bamba could be a fantastic long-term prospect
The 20-year-old has had a splendid breakthrough season at Vitoria. The Italy-born youngster has won an impressive 2.7 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game.
Meanwhile, he has made 4.7 clearances per appearance while completing 85 per cent of his passes. His potential has caught the eye of several European clubs.
It will be interesting to see whether Arsenal make an approach for him. Vitoria’s record sale was Edmond Tapsoba for €20m. They could be tempted to accept a similar fee.
Arsenal currently have Thomas Partey as an undisputed choice for the number six role, but the Ghanaian star has failed to stay unscathed over the course of a season.
There is always the risk of an injury during the second half of the campaign. Hence, the Gunners need more quality on the bench and Bamba could be a shrewd signing.
He is relatively inexperienced at the top level but the Gunners must look to prise him away before the likes of PSG, Atalanta and Villarreal enter the pursuit.