Arsenal are looking to make a move for River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios in their search to recruit a long-term replacement for Aaron Ramsey.
The 20-year-old had looked set to join Real Madrid in a £20m deal almost four years after breaking into the first team at the Estadio Monumental, but an injury initially delayed the move and manager Zinedine Zidane has since decided to pull the plug on the whole agreement.
That’s allowed other clubs to make some headway in securing Palacios’ signature, and Radio Continental (via The Metro) claim that Arsenal are now the favourites to sign the Argentina international before the start of next season.
It’s understood that Palacios has an £18m release clause in his contract and could now move to north London regardless of whether or not the Gunners qualify for next year’s Champions League group stages – which would leave their summer budget at roughly £40m.
The midfielder’s agent Renato Corsi even confirmed that Palacios would be leaving River Plate in June, adding that there has already been contact from unnamed clubs in the Premier League and Bundesliga.
Palacios has made 49 appearances for River Plate since making his debut, featuring heavily during the club’s Copa Libertadores triumph last year, including in the historic win over bitter rivals Boca Juniors – a derby known as the Superclásico – in the last ever two-legged final in the competition’s history.
Although Arsenal are still interested in making defensive reinforcements this summer, the club are understood to see Palacios as the creative box-to-box midfielder who can fill the boots of the departing Ramsey.
If Arsenal do get Exequiel Palacios (still a if at this stage) then along with Gabriel Martinelli will we see Arsenal shifting towards the South American market. It’s certainly a interesting move seeing under Wenger they looked towards French, German and Spanish players. #AFC
— Yousef Teclab (@yousef_teclab) May 21, 2019
The Wales international will officially join Juventus later this summer after his contract at Emirates Stadium was allowed to be run down by the club’s top brass.