Arsenal Transfer News: Bernard Opens Door to Gunners, Antoine Griezmann Targeted

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2014

Donetsk's Bernard, center, Leverkusen's Lars Bender, left, and fellow team member Giulio Donati challenge for the ball during the Champions League group A soccer match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Shakhtar Donetsk at the Donbas Arena stadium in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

The growing tensions in Ukraine could lead to winger Bernard leaving Shakhtar Donetsk this summer, while Arsenal are said to be eyeing Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann as an alternative to the Brazilian maestro.

Ed Malyon of the Mirror says the civil unrest in Eastern Europe has led Bernard's representatives to sound out Premier League clubs on his alleged availability.

According to Malyon, the 21-year-old—included as part of Luiz Felipe Scolari's World Cup squad—could be on the move again this summer for £19 million, having moved to the Donbass Arena in August 2013.

Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas says a move back to Brazil could be on the cards, however, with former club Atletico Mineiro one of the sides interested in his signature:

Speaking to Globo Esporte, via Sky Sports, ahead of his home World Cup, Bernard touched upon what Ukraine's political unrest means for his transfer prospects, hinting that he's in favour of a move away:

I can't talk about what's going on in Ukraine as I was told not to do so, but I have gone through everything there and so did my parents, as they were with me. It's complicated. As for the future, I can't say anything. There is a large turnover of players that pleases no-one in the squad.

I was used to playing on Wednesdays and Sundays here [in Brazil] while at Shakhtar I have played only 25 games so far. It's hard and complicated to be in a country where I barely play, I hope that this will change.

I leave my future after the World Cup in God's hands.

Gunners fans can only hope that the club's financial situation has improved enough that funds are more readily available this time around, as Bernard certainly appears open to the suggestion of a move away.

Should Arsenal's hunt of the Brazilian speedster not go according to plan, Griezmann could be available for a similar fee of £18 million this summer.

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

That's according to the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel. Mokbel quotes Arsene Wenger, who confirmed back in March that his side were interested in La Real's attacker: "We are following him [Griezmann] in great detail. He attracts other clubs as well but we follow him, he is a known commodity."

And The Independent claims that a move to re-sign former forward Carlos Vela for £3 million has other motivations besides merely bringing the Mexican back to North London:

Wenger would appear intent on strengthening his attack before all else this summer if early speculation is anything to go by, providing more support and perhaps competition for the likes of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla.

In order to improve upon this season's collapse in the second half of the campaign, that depth in resources will be a crucial aspect of the summer rebuild, but any major business is likely to be put on hold before the World Cup.