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Report: Arsenal want ‘truly enviable’ £35m midfielder, UCL side lead four-club race

Arsenal are interested in rivalling Liverpool and Leeds United for the transfer of Rodrigo de Paul, according to Tutto Udinese.

The Gunners are monitoring the Argentine’s situation at Udinese as they weigh up midfield options to improve Mikel Arteta’s squad. Arsenal have lost options in the engine room with Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard returning to parent club Real Madrid.

Roma are also in advanced negotiations to sign Granit Xhaka (Sky Sports), while Marseille want Matteo Guendouzi (L’Equipe). Ainsley Maitland-Niles may also leave the Emirates Stadium this summer with Crystal Palace keen (football.london).

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De Paul would likely occupy a slot beside Thomas Partey if Arsenal can agree a deal with Udinese. The 27-year-old made 33 of his 36 Serie A appearances last season from a deep-lying position, returning all nine goals and 10 of his 11 assists.

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Liverpool and Leeds, like Arsenal, are keeping tabs on De Paul’s situation from afar. But La Liga champions Atletico Madrid are currently leading the four-club race for the 23-cap star.

De Paul’s agent, Mino Raiola, has been in Udine this week to speak with Udinese about their captain’s future. The 2016 arrival from Valencia has three years remaining on his contract at the Stadio Friuli.

Udinese are adamant they will not allow their prized asset to depart on the cheap amid Champions League interest. Per Goal, Atleti are striving to work a cut-price deal as they otherwise cannot afford De Paul, who the Bianconeri value at £35million.

Udinese believe De Paul’s stock has never been higher after a magnificent Serie A campaign. They have also rejected Atleti’s offer of £17m plus defender Nehuen Perez. Diego Simeone’s side remain in talks and have alternative players they could include in a swap deal.

TBR’s view: De Paul ideal for Arteta’s Arsenal

Arteta will have to make signings in midfield this summer with the futures of several Arsenal men in question. And De Paul would make an ideal arrival at the Emirates, should the Gunners be able to afford Udinese’s demands.

The Argentine offers Udinese a tremendous driving presence from the centre of midfield that Arteta currently lacks. He also progresses play wonderfully with fantastic technique, either through passing or dribbling into the final third.

De Paul puts in his fair share defensively when playing deeper, as well. His all-round game has also seen former Watford star Roberto Pereyra, now at Udinese, wax lyrical over the midfielder’s ‘enormous qualities’ and ‘truly enviable’ physique.

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