Arsenal could be set to launch a move for a new right-back this summer in the form of Cristiano Piccini.
According to Jornal do Noticias (talkSPORT), the Gunners look set to beat off competition from domestic rivals West Ham and European giants Juventus to land the Sporting CP defender.
Despite Arsene Wenger recently confirming that he will step down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season, the drawing up of potential summer transfer targets has clearly not been put on hold.
Recently appointed Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat will be working behind the scenes to plot the moves which can elevate the Gunners back towards the top of the Premier League next season, and it appears he already has some major transfer targets beginning to emerge ahead of the summer.
Piccini has impressed during his first season in Portugal. Signed from Real Betis for £2.6m last year, the Italian’s form looks set to earn him another move in quick succession, this time for a fee likely to be in the region of £17.5m.
The 25-year-old full-back has played 22 games this season for Sporting, who sit third in the Primeira Liga, and his performances have gained widespread attention in England and in his native Italy.
It is Arsenal who are reportedly leading the chase for Piccini, and it would remain to be seen whether he would arrive to provide competition for, or replace, current Gunners right-back Hector Bellerin.
The Spaniard has been linked with a return to Barcelona, and the North London side could be keen to cash in on one of their most valuable assets to generate funds to put towards incomings this summer.
Generating extra funds from any sale of Bellerin could be of great use towards strengthening other areas of the team, such as central defence and central midfield, in which Arsene Wenger’s side have often been caught short this season.