Barcelona have taken the lead over Arsenal in the pursuit of 17-year-old Brazilian prodigy Vitor Roque, according to SPORT.
The Catalan giants have made contact with Athletico Paranaense to negotiate a deal for the young forward, who is considered a rising talent from South America.
Barcelona have a strong relationship with Deco, who is serving as an external advisor for the club, and he is playing a key role in the transfer by acting as a liaison between Barcelona and Roque’s agents.
Barca have already started discussions with the player’s agent. Brazil has regulations that prevent players from leaving the country until they turn 18, and Roque will reach that age later this month, giving the Catalans an opportunity to bring him to Spain.
Since the interest in him became known, Roque remains keen on joining the Blaugrana, who sees the 17-year-old prodigy as the potential “next Luis Suarez” due to his creative style in the final third. However, the La Liga giants face stiff competition from Arsenal, who are also interested in the young forward.
Athletico Paranaense has a reported €60 million release clause in Roque’s contract, and they would prefer any interested club to pay the full amount. However, they may realise that this may not be feasible.
This is where Arsenal may have the upper hand over Barcelona in securing Roque’s signature. Barac are not in a strong financial position and will likely negotiate a lower price when they speak directly with Athletico Paranaense.
On the other hand, the Gunners may offer more money to the Brazilian club to secure the transfer, despite Roque’s preference to join Barcelona.
As of now, Barcelona remains the front-runner for Roque’s transfer, but much can change leading up to the summer transfer window. And if Arsenal makes a solid offer, they could potentially beat out Barcelona for the Brazilian wonderkid.