There are conflicting reports over the future of Colombian starlet Juan Fernando Quintero, with strong reports in his homeland that he is on the verge of a transfer to Arsenal being denied by the player’s agent. Quintero was one of the leading stars of last year’s Under-20 World Cup, prompting Porto to sign him from Italian side Pescara. While he started just four matches in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season, the talented attacking midfielder further enhanced his reputation at this summer’s World Cup when coming off the bench against Ivory Coast and providing a goal and the creative spark to help Colombia to a 2-1 win.
On Thursday respected Colombian journalist Diego Rueda Tweeted that a link with Arsenal was genuine and, indeed, that the player would arrive in London on Monday to discuss the transfer. However, Quintero’s agent, Ricardo Calleri, claimed no knowledge of the impending transfer, although did state that there was plenty of interest in his client’s services.
“Porto have never talked about negotiating the sale of Juan Quintero,” he told Portuguese publication MaisFutebol. “Sure there are clubs interested, from Spain and England. But in order for him to leave, a club has to pay his buy-out clause.”
Quintero’s release clause is €40 million (£32m), which it is difficult to envisage Arsenal paying. Porto are known as tough negotiators in the transfer market, often holding out for players’ release clauses and earning top dollar for their players, as they have done in recent years with another Colombian James Rodriguez and Brazilian Hulk.
Any move would be further complicated by the fact that it is believed, as is common practice for the Portuguese giants, that Porto only own 50 percent of Quintero’s economic rights. Such ownership structures are against Premier League rules and Arsenal would have to settle both Porto’s demands and that of a third party. Such complexities are believed to be holding up Manchester City’s move for Porto defender Elliaquim Mangala. Porto will be well aware that Quintero has the potential to be one of the world’s top players and follow in the footsteps of James Rodriguez, who just moved to Real Madrid from Monaco for a reported fee of €80 million (£64m).
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a clear fan of playmakers, but he currently has a wide array of attacking midfield options. Surely one would have to leave if Arsenal were to go through with a big-money transfer for Quintero. There has been some speculation in recent days that such a scenario could play out, with reports that Atletico Madrid are keen to bring Santi Cazorla back to Spain. That transfer has appeared unlikely, though, following the Spanish champions’ capture of France international Antoine Griezmann. Atletico have now ruled out a move for the Arsenal man as well as other reported targets Fernando Torres, Javier Hernandez and Jose Callejon.
“Many names have been mentioned, but none of those players, neither Cazorla, Callejon, Torres nor Chicharito [Hernandez] are on our agenda,” president Enrique Cerezo told Radio Marca, reports Sky Sports. “If we sign another player, it won't be any of them.”
One Arsenal player far likelier to be on his way out of the Emirates in the coming weeks is Thomas Vermaelen. The Gunners captain, who has lost his place in the first team to the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny since the climax of the 2012-13 season, has been frequently linked with a move to Manchester United. Indeed, reports have suggested that Wenger is only waiting to secure a replacement before green-lighting Vermaelen’s exit. More could be known in the coming days, with the Daily Mail reporting that, having returned to preseason training, the Belgium international is set to hold talks with Wenger over his future.
On the incoming front, the main focus of speculation surrounding Arsenal continues to be the possible transfer of Sami Khedira. The British press has run with a report in Spain this week that Bayern Munich are now keen to take the German World Cup winner when his contract expires at Real Madrid next summer, and speculated that Madrid will look to ensure that he departs in the coming weeks in order that they can receive a transfer fee. Arsenal are thought to have all but agreed a €25 million (£20m) fee for the midfielder, but hit a stumbling block over the player’s wage demands, which reportedly would have made him the top earner at the Emirates.