Newcastle v Arsenal: Match in pictures
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Arsenal have found an ally in their pursuit of Real Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez. Mikel Arteta is keen to upgrade his options in that area when the summer transfer window opens and it appears he has now found his number one target.
Rodriguez has impressed for the La Liga side since joining from Mexican side América ahead of the current campaign.
The Argentine has played mainly as a defensive midfielder under Manuel Pellegrini, though has also scored two goals.
The Gunners currently have Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos as defensive midfield options.
But Partey has suffered with injuries and Ceballos is returning to Real Madrid at the end of the campaign.
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That means Arsenal will have to improve their options and Rodriguez has moved to the top of their shortlist after helping Betis to the edge of European qualification.
It appears that the Gunners have discovered a potentially important ally in the quest to sign the 27-year-old.
Estadio Deportivo report that Rodriguez’s first club River Plate are keeping a close eye on the situation.
The Argentine giants still own the training rights to Rodriguez and so will be entitled to a portion of any transfer fee that Betis are able to bring in.
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That transfer fee is set to be a sizeable one, with Rodriguez’s release clause an eye-watering £69.5million.
Estadio do claim though that Betis’ financial problems will see them forced into selling one of their star players in the summer.
Rodriguez’s performances this campaign means he is one of those stars at risk of departing the Benito Villamarín Stadium.
It is also stated that the Gunners are one of the clubs to have “shown the most interest” and are expected to make a move this summer.
Despite his hefty release clause, it is understood several offers have currently been made for Rodriguez of more than £50m.
That has alerted River Plate, who will understandably want the fee they receive to be as high as possible.
As a result, Estadio state that they are willing to “ally” themselves with the Gunners to ensure a deal for the midfielder is completed.
Rodriguez spent two years in the senior squad at River Plate, though made only 16 appearances before departing for Mexico.
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