Arsenal on the case for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro
Odds-on 2/7 FA Cup favourites Arsenal are eyeing up a double summer swoop for two Real Madrid players, Casemiro and Alvaro Morata.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was first alerted to the potential of 22-year-old Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro when scouts sent glowing reports back from Spain.
Tabloid reports claim Arsenal have acted on these rave reviews by making an enquiry about his availability. Casemiro joined 11/4 Champions League second-favourites Real for £5m from Sao Paulo last summer.
Wenger will not have a clear run on capturing Casemiro, however. Inter Milan, backed by the billions of Indonesian investor Erick Thohir, are also interested, as the Nerazzurri look to re-establish themselves as a European force.
Casemiro has made 20 appearances for Real in all competitions this term, but Carlo Ancelotti has almost exclusively used him as a substitute. A defensive midfielder, he has the likes of Xabi Alonso, Asier Illarramendi and Luka Modric ahead of him in the pecking order at the Bernabeu.
If he joins Arsenal, Casemiro would follow in the footsteps of compatriots Gilberto Silva and Denilson.
Morata, meanwhile, has been a rumoured target of the Gunners since he excelled for Spain’s Under-21 side at the European Youth Championship in Israel last summer.
Valued at a reported £12m, Morata has scored seven goals in 28 appearances for Real this term. Like Casemiro, Ancelotti has largely used him off the bench.
Arsenal need backup to Olivier Giroud up front. Nicklas Bendtner is out of contract at the Emirates this summer, while the futures of South Korea’s Park Chu-Young, temporarily at Watford, and Costa Rica international Joel Campbell, spending the season at Olympiakos, are uncertain.
The Gunners have been linked to Newcastle United loan star Loic Remy, and also have fellow Frenchman Yaya Sanogo on their books.
Up next for Wenger is a midweek match with West Ham. Arsenal are odds-on favourites for victory at 4/9, but back Giroud, who has three in as many appearances against this opposition, to score first at 7/2.