Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Why Gunners Must Move Swiftly to Sign Bernard

Ross Dunbar@@rossdunbar93Contributor IIJuly 21, 2013

Bernard (left)
Bernard (left)Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

A move away from Atletico Mineiro is probably not at the forefront of Bernard’s mind this weekend, as the Brazilian club looks to become the South American champion.

Bernard was suspended for its first-leg defeat against Paraguayan side Olimpia on Wednesday, with the Brazilians needing to overturn a two-goal deficit.

But while all of this is going on, English and other European clubs are weighing up bids for the 20-year-old attacking midfielder.

And Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail’s John Drayton, are leading the race for his signature.

Bernard has been on the radar of North London rivals Tottenham, and he's even been linked to German club Borussia Dortmund, according to ESPN FC. Bayern Munich defender Dante had encouraged him to join Dortmund, saying, “he would adapt to the German game.”

Bernard is naturally left-sided but is technically strong enough to play across the front line. His small, nimble style makes him a tough cookie for defenders to handle, using his pace and direct dribbling to good effect.

He was part of the recent Confederations Cup squad that went on to lift the trophy in Rio with a memorable win over Spain. Bernard featured sparingly as a replacement for Hulk mainly, but his introduction usually sparked an extra bit of life into the Brazilians.

He has scored 15 goals in 71 Mineiro games, including a vital strike in the Copa Libertadores semi-final win against Newell’s Old Boys. For a 20-year-old, Bernard has already gained sound experience in a high-pressure South American environment, plus as an internationalist.

Dortmund’s interest has seemingly dwindled since the additions of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this past month, so Arsenal could certainly race to the finish line before other competitors, such as Liverpool and FC Porto.

Brazilian clubs have begun to demand increasing prices for talents heading to Europe. It has always been a vital source of income, but the rise in financial clout has allowed them to stay until they are improved players.

In the same summer Neymar headed for Barcelona, the Atletico Mineiro attacker looks to be following the Brazilian star. His destination seems undecided at this stage, and of course, the diminutive playmaker will be intent on driving his club to South American glory.

But Bernard could really be an injection of quality for the Gunners and strengthen their Premier League title fight next season.

Time to open the club cheque book for this one.