Arsenal supporters have endured a frustrating transfer window, and with the club’s limited financial resources there hasn’t been much cause for excitement.
However, the club’s fortunes could be changing as it appears the Gunners are closing in on the signing of Everton Soares from Grêmio.
Sport Mediaset’s Andersinho Marques even claimed that a member of Arsenal’s medical team was in Porto Alegre last week, presumably tasked with conducting the player’s medical.
Seemingly the deal is drawing closer to its completion, but who exactly is Everton?
Here’s everything you need to know about Arsenal’s transfer target…
Everton Soares is a 23-year-old forward, born in Maracanaú, Brazil. He has spent the entirety of his senior career with Brasileirão side Grêmio, having joined the club’s youth side from Fortaleza in 2012.
He made his league debut against Atlético Paranaense in 2014 and has since amassed 116 appearances in Brazil’s top-flight, contributing towards 37 goals – scoring 28 and assisting nine.
His impressive performances at club level have warranted numerous call-ups to the Brazil national team.
The forward made his international debut at the age of 22 in a 2-0 win against the USA and recently represented his nation at Copa America.
Such was his importance in Brazil’s triumphant campaign, the 23-year-old scored three goals and claimed the Golden Boot Award, pipping the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edinson Cavani and Philippe Coutinho to the accolade.
A nickname has been attributed to Everton during his rise to prominence, one which compares him to a much-loved character in a kids’ Brazilian TV show. The name: É Cebolinha (Little Onion).
Everton can play anywhere across the front line, but most of his club appearances and goal contributions have been as a left-winger.
When watching the Brazilian in action, one of the most striking features of his game is the directness of his approach. The 23-year-old is equally comfortable taking players on when cutting infield and utilising the width.
Everton isn’t the most skilful player to emerge in Brazil, but he does have intelligent footwork that he frequently utilises to evade players.
Also, Everton can make swift and correct decisions, particularly with his piercing through ball ability. Generally, particularly when playing as a winger, the quality of his service is good.
His work as an attacker is equally impressive, and he’s amassed a catalogue of excellent finishes. A staple of his attacking play is to shift the ball away from defenders in tight situations, especially when he’s in the opposition’s penalty area.
It appears that Arsenal are primed to sign a winger that possesses the clinical streak that they have lacked in recent times, particularly as Iwobi and Mkhitaryan only scored a combined total of nine league goals last campaign.
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Brazil’s top-flight operates on a different schedule to the Premier League, with the season starting in April and concluding in December.
As a result, and due to his international involvement, Everton has only made eight league appearances this season – five of which have been starts. In those games, the 23-year-old has scored a respectable total of three goals. Reflective of his dribbling prowess, Everton has averaged 2.6 dribbles per league game, further illustrating his willingness to take on opponents.
He also impressed in the Copa Libertadores, contributing towards four goals in six outings.
For Brazil, the 23-year-old averages a goal contribution every two appearances, having scored three and assisted three in 12 appearances – a commendable return for a player who’s still acclimatising to the demands of international football.
Lucas Leiva left Gremio to join Liverpool in 2007. The Brazilian midfielder spent a decade with the Merseyside club, earning cult hero status while amassing 346 appearances for the Reds – a very impressive total.
Naturally, Arsenal supporters would be delighted if their potential signing can emulate the success and the importance that Leiva achieved during his time in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison have moved from Brazilian sides to the Premier League and established themselves as top talents.
Everton may well take inspiration from their transitions to life in Europe.
It remains to be seen whether or not Arsenal can get a deal over the line.
According to The Metro, the striker is said to be learning English ahead of a potential move to England, though Marco Silva’s Everton are also rumoured to be in the mix for his signature.
Time spent watching Everton with eagle-eyed intrigue suggests that Arsenal fans should be willing a deal over the line, and comments from Gremio club president Romildo Bolzan add extra weight to that notion, even if there is an obvious motive for him to publicly laud the club’s crown jewel.
Bolzan said: “Everton is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best players in South America, and maybe even the world.”
If those sentiments are genuine and wholesome and not merely a hyperbolic marketing strategy designed to artificially increase his valuation, the Emirates Stadium could be in for a treat next season.