Arsenal are looking for a right-back to replace Bacary Sagna and have reportedly identified Porto's Danilo, but the Gunners will have to move fast to secure the Brazilian's signature.
Danilo told ESPN Brazil, via Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas, that he was aware of reports linking him with a transfer to a top club, but stated that he is happy with his current situation and that his future lies in the hands of Porto:
I'll say what is usually said, I am contracted until 2016.
I am playing at Porto and have been playing well, which makes you get linked with top clubs.
But there is a big difference between that and an offer that Porto accepts. I am happy at the moment and I am prepared to return to Porto.
If something good for everyone comes along, we'll sit down, but for now it is just speculation.
Danilo was one of the breakout performers for Porto in 2013-14, a bright spot in what turned out to be a forgettable campaign for the Portuguese heavyweights.
The 22-year-old Brazilian established himself as one of the best up-and-coming right-backs in the world, and while his performances towards the end of the season seemed to take a hit, a lack of rest may have had something to do with that.
Via Selecao Brasileira, the youngster wasn't always happy about the big minutes he was forced to play at Porto:
Danilo: "I always like to play but sometimes you're very tired physically and cannot tolerate. Porto doesn't have anyone to rotate with me."— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) May 13, 2014
Unlike most young wing-backs, Danilo's game isn't built around his tremendous potential. He is already an excellent, patient defender who reads play beautifully, and he has all of the physical tools to be force on the offensive end as well.
This fan shared a table comparing a number of highly touted full-backs:
Danilo sure is impressive. Shame dealing with Porto is a nightmare. pic.twitter.com/f2YChflWk2— Lucas Resende (@lucasammr) May 26, 2014
Danilo is a very different type of player than Serge Aurier, who is reportedly also a candidate to replace Sagna, per Goal.com's Wayne Veysey.
While the Ivorian is an athletic freak who loves nothing more than bombing forward, Danilo is a calm, patient player who will take care of his defensive duties first and foremost. In that regard, the Brazilian is closer to the departing Sagna than Aurier will likely ever be.
But Danilo's offensive potential is far greater than Sagna's ever was, and at the age of 22, the Porto man is only scratching the surface of that potential.
Unfortunately, Arsenal aren't the only club aware of Danilo. Several clubs are reportedly looking at signing the Brazilian this summer, and as reported by Calciomercado via SocialRMadrid, Real Madrid could provide the Gunners with fierce competition for his signature:
Real Madrid would be interested in signing FC Porto right back Danilo as replacement for Arbeloa. (Calciomercato) pic.twitter.com/vDlq0dYxMh— SocialRMadrid (@SocialRMadrid) March 3, 2014
Danilo will no doubt demand a heftier transfer fee than Toulouse's Aurier; Porto have developed quite the reputation for their excellence in the transfer market. Los Blancos aren't afraid to throw a lot of money at a particular player they're interested in, and all of the parties involved know this.
This is where speed becomes vital. As of right now, Arsenal are looking at several options to fill the right-back spot on their squad and trying to determine which player would be the best fit.
This is smart, but Arsene Wenger and company need to come to a conclusion and commit to a player in a hurry. With every passing day, both Aurier and Danilo will be less and less convinced the Gunners are courting them.
As a club, telling a player how badly you want him is leverage, and while the Gunners aren't exactly short on transfer funds, there are few clubs in world football who can compete with the mighty Real on a financial level.
Convincing Danilo that he would be Arsenal's man for the future and just another guy in the Spanish capital is arguably Wenger's biggest weapon in these transfer negotiations, and it is one he shouldn't hesitate to lose.
Danilo won't be travelling back home to play in the World Cup, opening the door for a quick and painless deal for the player. But with Real also looking at the wing-back, time isn't on Arsenal's side.