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Arsenal are ‘preferred destination’ for Gabri Veiga

Arsenal have been linked with Gabri Veiga but would have to battle Manchester City and Real Madrid for his signature, so the Gunners may not have believed they stood a chance of luring him to the Emirates Stadium. Enrique Sanz of Defensa Central says Mikel Arteta has a great opportunity to sign the 20-year-old, however, as Veiga’s ‘preferred destination’ is Arsenal.

The Spanish U21 international rose through the youth ranks to Celta Vigo’s first-team in 2022, scoring 10 goals with one assist from 64 appearances for the B team before making 44 appearances in all competitions at senior level, scoring nine goals with three assists. Veiga has been a regular under Carlos Carvalhal this season and looks to have a bright future.

He’s missed just one league game for Celta all campaign, so he’s already indispensable at the Estadio de Balaídos. With nine goals and three assists from 18 league starts, coupled with 19 chances created and 29 successful dribbles from midfield, Veiga has all the attributes Arteta wants from a playmaker.

Arsenal aren’t short in that position with Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe at their disposal, but Arteta probably needs better cover for Odegaard given how the season has panned out.

Vieira has started just two Premier League games since joining from FC Porto last summer, amassing 387 minutes of top-flight football from a possible 2520, so he’s already out of favour despite the €35m (£30.8m) transfer fee. Smith Rowe hasn’t started a league game this season and has played for just 106 minutes, so he’s not in Arteta’s sights either.

Veiga would improve the midfield and the Gunners will have to trigger his €40m (£36m) release clause to sign him, so he’s a similar price to Vieira. The 20-year-old has three-and-a-half years remaining on his deal at Celta but could be on the move much sooner after this breakthrough campaign.

Arsenal have stiff competition from City and Real but are an attractive proposition as they sit top of the table with 10 games to play. Defensa Central notes that the money Arsenal could offer Veiga should trump what Real have at their disposal, so that might be a factor in his decision-making.

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