Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Reportedly Step Up Interest in Andrija Zivkovic

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IApril 14, 2018

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MARCH 03: SL Benfica forward Andrija Zivkovic from Serbia celebrates scoring Benfica fitfh goal during the Portuguese Primeira Liga match between SL Benfica and CS Maritime at Estadio da Luz on March 3, 2018 in Lisbon, Lisboa. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly set to step up their interest in Benfica winger Andrija Zivkovic and will watch the 21-year-old in action against Porto on Sunday.

The Gunners have been following Zivkovic for some time and will send scout Luis Boa Morte to Sunday's game as their interest intensifies, according to Portuguese newspaper Record (h/t Sport Witness).

Zivkovic has spent most of his career on the right flank but can also play in a more central role or even on the left. He's made just 12 league starts for Benfica this season but has three goals and three assists for manager Rui Vitoria's league leaders.

Benfica's Serbian forward Andrija Zivkovic (R) vies with Vitoria's Portuguese forward Fabio Sturgeon during the Portuguese League football match between SL Benfica and Vitoria Guimaraes SC at the La Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / F

Although the 21-year-old has pace to burn, he has been used in a more central attacking midfield role this season and has shown good playmaking ability. He has vision, can pick a pass, create chances and run at defenders.

Zivkovic's form has also attracted interest from a host of other top clubs, including Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund, according to Claudio Colla at Transfermarketweb.com.

StatsBomb's Ted Knutson highlighted Zivkovic's strengths over the last two seasons:

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Ted Knutson @mixedknuts

Andrija Zivkovic, Benfica 16-17 and 17-18. Oh boy am I intrigued. https://t.co/RMx9AEnFMW

Arsenal need to strengthen in the summer if they are to have a chance of breaking back into the Premier League top four. The Gunners have endured a tough season and look set to miss out on UEFA Champions League qualification through their league position, as they are 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Manager Arsene Wenger's side could still secure a place in Europe's elite competition by winning the UEFA Europa League, although they face a difficult semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal do have creative options with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the squad, but Zivkovic's pace and versatility could well appeal to Wenger.

Zivkovic should have a point to prove against Porto on Sunday too. The youngster came on as a substitute but was sent off six minutes later when the two sides met in December 2017. However, an impressive performance on Sunday may have a big impact on where his future lies.

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