Bernard has quietly become one of the most coveted players on the transfer market. The 20-year-old Atletico Mineiro winger is a star on the rise, prompting several clubs—including Arsenal—to pursue him before his value likely skyrockets in the coming years.
Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard gave Gunners supporters a boost of hope by reporting the club was on the verge of a £21 million deal for the Brazilian international. Beating out so much competition for his signature would be huge.
Arsenal are on the verge of finally making their first major signing of the summer as they close in on a club record deal for Brazil international Bernard.
Tottenham, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto have also been keen to buy the Atletico Mineiro but Arsenal are in advanced negotiations with Atletico Mineiro over a £21million switch.
The report stated the sides were in agreement on personal terms and that Bernard could be in London by Friday for medical testing.
Alas, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wasn't ready to confirm any potential agreement. In fact, Jim Daly of the Daily Mirror reported the longtime boss denied reports of a completed deal despite the persistent links.
Arsene Wenger has denied he is ready to beat Liverpool and Tottenham to the signing of Brazilian starlet Bernard.
The Gunners transfer policy regularly sees the club picking up bright talents, and the 20-year-old winger was reportedly on Wenger's radar.
So, the toughest thing to figure out from the two vastly different reports is how involved Arsenal truly are in the Bernard chase. It's a pretty wide range from a finalized deal sometime this week and a denial of any agreement.
Wenger has been through enough transfer sagas to understand the importance of not tipping your hand. He doesn't want to make any bold statements about a signing unless he's confident a deal is done, especially with so many other clubs interested.
If other clubs know a deal is within reach, it's their signal to make one last attempt to beat Arsenal to the rising star's signature. Wenger wants to avoid that late rush of added competition, which could further drive up the price.
At the same time, Arsenal are running out of chances to make an impact move. As the Evening Standard report points out, the Gunners have been unable to secure any marquee signings despite entering the summer with around £70 million.
Wenger isn't going to spend that money just for the sake of spending it, of course. He wants to utilize it to land players capable of pushing Arsenal closer in the title race, but failing to make any big signings would be a significant disappointment.
Bernard would certainly qualify as a high-profile signing.
At 20, he's already put an impressive skill set on display, including terrific pace and an improving ability to finish in front of goal. He's only going to get better moving forward.
In other words, if Arsenal aren't heavily involved in talks to land him, they should be. The resources are available and his potential limits the amount of risk. He should be well worth the investment whether he lands at the Emirates or with another club.
It's time for Arsenal to step up their pursuit of Bernard and eliminate any doubt as to where they stand.