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Arsenal send scouts to watch Real Madrid and Liverpool linked midfielder: Reports

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Arsenal have reportedly sent ‘scouts’ to watch 19-year-old Flamengo midfielder Matheus Franca, who is touted to have a bright future in football.

The player is in high demand, with the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Newcastle and Crystal Palace also credited with interest in him.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, Arsenal see Matheus Franca as an ideal long-term option for their current playing style. The Brazil youth international has made 27 appearances for Flamengo so far and has scored seven goals.

Franca broke into the limelight this year as several outlets reported clubs like Real Madrid and Liverpool’s interest in him. They sent scouts to watch him play and have been impressed with what they have seen.

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Considering the Gunners’ Sporting Director Edu Gaspar has strong ties in Brazil, Arsenal could very well enter the race as frontrunners should they choose to pursue Matheus Franca.

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The north Londoners aren’t shy about picking a diamond in the rough – Gabriel Martinelli’s acquisition from then-fourth division Brazilian club Ituano being a testament to this.

However, with most of their current squad already being young, it remains to be seen what profile of players Mikel Arteta will go for in the next stage of his project.

Arsenal academy graduate to depart the club

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who graduated from Arsenal’s Hale End academy, has been on loan at Southampton so far this season. Due to the nature of his deal, the player was unable to feature in the 3-3 draw between the two clubs earlier this week.

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However, The Athletic have reported that Maitland-Niles is eager to seek pastures anew as he gears up for a new challenge in life. Playing time has been hard to come by as he has made just 72 appearancesfor the Gunners despite being promoted to the first team for the first time in 2014. He is currently on his fourth loan spell away, having already been at Ipswich Town, West Brom and AS Roma.

Speaking to the Athletic, Ainsley Maitland-Niles said:

“It’s been a great journey but it has come to an end now (at Arsenal). It’s time for a fresh start and to find a new home. I’m looking forward to that but, at the same time, my head’s not quite there yet and it’s all about what’s happening now with Southampton.”
The Saints are in the thick of a relegation battle and should they drop to the EFL Championship, it is unlikely they will retain a player likely to demand Premier League-standard wages.

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