Bordeaux may be softening their stance over the sale of Malcom during the January transfer window with manager Jocelyn Gourvennec now claiming the Arsenal target will be replaced if he leaves this month.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have both been heavily linked with a move for the 20-year-old Malcom during the mid-season window but the Gunners are now considered favourites to prise him from Bordeaux as the north London side prepare for life without Alexis Sanchez. According to The Mirror, Arsenal are ready to bid £35m for the former Corinthians youngster, after holding preliminary talks with his representatives over the weekend.
Despite reports of that meeting taking place, Bordeaux have publicly remained defiant over their prized asset, determined to keep him until at least the end of the current season. Club president Stephane Martin insisted to Sud-Ouest there was "nothing new" over their player on Sunday [14 January] night, with club owner Nicolas de Tavernost told L'Equipe: "Malcom will not be leaving."
But while any decision over the 20-year-old's sale will be made at board level, head coach Gourvennec has become the first at the club to open the door to any kind of deal taking place this month. Speaking ahead of a Ligue 1 clash against Caen on Tuesday [16 January], Gourvennec suggested to reporters he has been assured a replacement will be brought in this month if a deal for Malcom's sale his struck, Sud-Ouest report.
Gourvennec added Malcom will be involved midweek against Caen despite the ongoing speculation over his future at the club, insisting the youngster remains focused on helping his side.
Malcom has emerged as Arsenal's number one target to replace Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates this month, with the Chile international now said now expected to sign for Manchester United.
The Old Trafford club are willing to meet the Gunners' £35m asking price for the Chile international, who has less than six months remaining on his current contract, with neighbours Manchester City currently unwilling to meet either Arsenal's or the player's financial demands.