By Matt Farr
Arsenal are considering a move for Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Rui Patricio this summer, according to a report.
French news outlet RMC Sport claim that the Premier League giants have lined up the Portuguese stopper as a replacement for Petr Cech, who has been criticised for his performances this season.
It is also reported that Arsenal are prepared to open negotiations with a £13million bid, with French outfit Marseille also showing a keen interest.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper put pen to paper last summer on a new long term at Sporting Lisbon that will keep him at the club until 2022.
But Arsenal are hoping to lure him away from Portugal with the inconsistent form of Cech leaving the club in hot pursuit of a new No.1.
A one-club man, Patricio has often been the star performer at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, and has kept 10 clean sheets from 24 league appearances this term.
He also played a starring role for the Portugal national side during their surprise Euro 2016 triumph in France last summer.
The stopper has 56 caps for Portugal in a glittering international career.
Football Insider verdict
Cech has been a great player for Arsenal but he’s 34 and his performance levels have dropped this season. It means that Arsenal could well be looking for a new stopper in the summer, with deputy David Ospina not cut out for the regular role. Meanwhile, it is yet unclear what the future holds for Wojciech Szczesny, who is out on loan at AS Roma. Therefore, Patricio may be the right path to take. The most appealing attribute is his consistency, and Arsenal need someone who can inject exactly that into their faltering back line at the earliest opportunity. He could also be available at a cheaper rate than many of their other reported targets, although Sporting Lisbon are unlikely to want to sell. It’s also questionable as to whether he’d want to leave – he’s been at the club since 2001, for his entire career.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the club have reportedly identified this £13million-rated Premier League ace as a replacement for Mesut Ozil.