Mikel Arteta has capitalised on Real Madrid’s dithering and played a key role in helping Arsenal to close in on the signing of Ivan Fresneda.
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A host of Premier League clubs had been monitoring the situation of the highly-rated Spain Under-21 international right-back, but the Real Valladolid star had been expected to join the reigning Champions League holders.
Real have been scouring the market for a long-term successor to Dani Carvajal and had been contemplating making a formal offer for Fresneda.
Carlo Ancelotti, however, is minded instead to promote Vinicius Tobias from La Castilla, a player signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer.
The legendary Italian’s reservations over Fresneda has presented Arsenal with an opportunity that Arteta has pounced on with the Spaniard, according to ElDesmarque, playing a key role in convincing the player to join Arsenal.
Fresneda’s agent was reported to be in London on Thursday and Arsenal are understood to have ‘virtually signed’ the 18-year-old defender in a £12million deal.
Arsenal have operated with Ben White has a makeshift right-back this season and although the experiment has proved to be a huge success, his long-term future is likely to lie at centre-half.
Takehiro Tomiyasu enjoyed a superb start to his Arsenal career after joining from Bologna 18 months ago but his progress has been hampered by a series of injuries.
The experienced Cedric Soares, meanwhile, has been reduced to a bit-part role this term and is set to join Fulham before the January transfer window closes.
Arsenal are also expected to complete the signing of Leandro Trossard on Friday in time for him to make his debut against Manchester United on Sunday.
Confirming the Belgium international’s departure, Roberto De Zerbi said on Friday: ‘The situation was difficult I think, because I understood he wanted to leave.
‘I’m sorry for the last period because I prefer when people are clear not when there is some different behaviours. I think anyway we are a good team and we can play well with Leo or without Leo.
‘In the transfer market, you can always improve. You can always buy new players but we are at a good level now and the players are very good players. It’s not so easy to improve this squad. But if there is the possibility with Tony (Bloom) and the club, we will do something.’
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