Arsenal FC are closing in on Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo in a reported £14 million deal.
The Brazilian international has been on the fringes of Bayern’s first team squad since the arrival of Javi Martinez last season. Gustavo made only 16 starts in the league and 3 starts in the Champions League, in Bayern’s historic treble winning season. Now with the arrival of Thiago from Barcelona, Gustavo faces an uncertain future at Bayern Munich under new manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola has changed Bayern’s tactics and in their opening match against Borussia Monchengladbach, he fielded a 4-1-4-1 formation, which saw Bastian Schweinsteiger playing the role of a holding midfielder – even Bayern’s transfer fee record signing Javi Martinez didn’t make it to the starting eleven; Gustavo didn’t even make it to the bench. The Brazilian is now prepared to make a move this summer in order to gain first team football to maintain his place in the Brazilian squad ahead of the forthcoming World Cup.
“My contract with Bayern runs until 2015 but it is very important that I play first-team football to keep getting called up for Brazil. I am in a very delicate situation at Bayern and this needs sorting out. I have personal and professional reasons to move,” – Gustavo told the press.
Arsenal are one of the teams interested in signing Gustavo, along with Wolfsburg and Napoli. Gustavo is aware of Arsenal’s interest and is keen on playing for the English club next season.
“I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It’s a big club we’re talking about here so of course I’d like to play for them.
“Arsenal play a very attractive brand of football and are in the Champions League. They also have a very clever manager in Arsène Wenger. Even when Bayern beat them in the last Champions League [on aggregate] you could see they are not pushovers.” – The Arsenal target added.
Although Scolari has praised Gustavo after his recent showing in the Confederations Cup and Carlos Alberto has compared him with the Mauro Silva, Gustavo knows that without regular first team action he could slip down the pecking order.
“Nobody earns a place in the Brazil squad with past glories. I need to be playing to show I am in proper shape for the team, especially now that we have only friendlies before the World Cup” – Gustavo said.
The 26-year-old is keen on resolving his uncertain future before the transfer window closes this month. The midfielder has already spoken to Pep Guardiola regarding his plans for the future and is yet to be convinced that he will play a significant part in Bayern’s upcoming campaign.
“We have talked a couple of times but he has not spoken to me specifically about my situation. Personally and professionally there are questions I need to address. The transfer window will close in a couple of weeks.” – The Brazilian international was quoted in press.
There are contradicting reports as to where Gustavo’s future destination lies. German media are reporting that Wolfsburg are the front runners in this race for his signature and that Gustavo would like to remain in Germany. Italian media are reporting that Rafa Benitez is keen on adding Gustavo to the Napoli squad as he prepares to challenge Juventus’ domination in the Serie A, where as English media will have you believe that Arsenal are the favorites to sign him at the moment. The Telegraph reports that Arsenal have are set to complete a £14 million deal for the Bayern midfielder and are pushing to sign him before their opening game of the season against Aston Villa. Gustavo could potentially be a key signing for the London club, who lack defensive midfielders in the squad.