Arsenal have moved ahead of arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Bordeaux forward Malcom as they look to press on and find a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who could move to either Manchester United or Manchester City in the coming days.
Malcom has caught the eye of a number of top European clubs with his performances for Bordeaux, who are struggling near the bottom of Ligue 1. The 20-year-old has plundered seven goals and provided another five assists for Jocelyn Gourvennec's side, who are only four points above the relegation zone in France's top-flight.
His form inevitably attracted attention from bigger clubs, with Arsenal's interest seemingly the most intense given their need to replace the outgoing Sanchez, who missed the Gunners' 2-1 defeat by Bournemouth on Sunday (14 January) in preparation for a move to United or City, the former being the more likely destination at this stage.
Tottenham were also in the running to sign Malcom but were not willing to pay more than €35m for the former Corinthians star, according to The Independent. Bordeaux had placed €50m valuation on their coveted attacker, a fee too exorbitant for Tottenham, who are known for their frugal nature, but Arsenal are now closing on a €45m deal for their Sanchez replacement, though they could have got him for less than half of the fee they are now shelling out in the summer transfer window.
Malcom was reportedly being offered to clubs around Europe for just €18m a few months ago, but they couldn't find a buyer for the Brazil youth international. Seven goals and five assists later, Les Girondins are primed to receive more than double their original asking price from Arsenal, who could have saved an inordinate amount of money if they saw fit to sell Sanchez in the summer - they eventually rejected a £60m bid from City for the Chilean because they had no replacement lined up.