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Arsenal and Spurs in battle to sign up-and-coming Spanish midfielder

North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are set to compete for Villarreal’s attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals, according to The Sun.

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The Spanish 23-year-old has had an impressive season so far with Villarreal, and despite his team’s poor performances has made an impact in their Europa League quest. Fornals has previously been on the radar of Italian side Napoli, but it’s growing increasingly likely that he may be swayed towards the English Premier League following the interest from London’s elite.

Arsenal’s only problem is their financial situation. Earlier this year, Unai Emery mentioned that the Gunners couldn’t afford to permanently sign anyone, and loan signings were his best options for new players. However, by the time the summer transfer market comes around, they may be forced to part ways with their German playmaker, Mesut Ozil. Ozil’s reported wages are around £350,000 per week, which is leaving Arsenal stranded in the market – his departure may well free up the funds to sign Fornals.

Both London sides are coming to the end of somewhat mixed seasons. Spurs were momentarily in the title race and Arsenal are still finding a foothold under their new manager. As the season draws to a close, Arsenal and Tottenham will be fighting it out to finish in the top four.

Mauricio Pochettino was furious following his side’s defeat to relegation candidates Southampton, with the Argentinian blaming his players for not taking the game seriously. He said, “It is so difficult to understand why we changed so much from the first half to the second.”  The addition of Pablo Fornals would help bolster his squad depth after he failed to sign anyone last summer.

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Both sides, however, are still battling it out in Europe. Spurs recently knocked out Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, on their way to a second ever quarterfinal appearance in the competition, while Arsenal overcame a first-leg deficit to see of Rennes to enter the quarter-finals of Europe’s secondary competition. Fornals himself has had a very good season so far in Europe, registering three assists and three goals in the Europa League this term.

Whoever manages to land the talented Spaniard’s signature will be looking to pay around £27 million. But, this fee could always rise as he still has a big part to play in his side’s European push and relegation battle at the bottom of La Liga.

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