Arsenal and Chelsea target Gabriel Barbosa has suggested he is on the brink of leaving Santos. Barbosa, 19, has garnered a reputation as one of Brazil's brightest emerging talents and is set to represent his country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Barcelona and Juventus have also been strongly linked with the starlet, but according to ESPN Brasil, Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the Brazil international. The Gunners are said to have lodged an initial offer in early July.
Santos are eager to hold onto the player and even took the step of confirming a contract extension between the club and player had been agreed.
But speaking to Globo Esporte, Barbosa has dismissed those claims. "We are just talking. My parents and my representatives are talking. They have some things to discuss. I have proposals, too, but there is nothing confirmed yet."
It would now appear the youngster is poised to leave the club. After scoring in the victory over Ponte Preta on Saturday, the teenager told a post-match press conference: "I played as if it was my last game here. Soon you will know something," ESPN report.
In a move that fuelled further speculation, the Brazil international posted a picture on Instagram of him kissing the Santos badge pitch-side, with the message: "My heart is Alvinegro and it will always beat for you. Santos are my life. I will love you until death."
Having missed out on both Jamie Vardy and Alvaro Morata this summer, Arsenal are still very much in the market for another forward. But according to the Daily Mirror, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has greenlit a £25m move for the player. The report adds Barbosa will strongly consider a move to the Premier League.
Serie A champions Juventus are also firmly in the race, however. According to UOL Esporte, the Bianconeri are now favourites to sign the player ahead of Barcelona and the Premier League duo.