Arsenal closing on signing of Sporting CP teenager Tiago Tomas

Arsenal are understood to be closing on the signing of Sporting CP teenager Tiago Tomas, in a summer transfer that could be worth as much as £20m.

The 18-year old broke into Sporting's first team at the end of last season, and has played a significant role in 2020/21 - making 18 appearances in Liga NOS, including eight starts.

Though he only has two goals and two assists to his name so far, The Sun report that Arsenal technical director Edu has been working on a deal with opposite number Hugo Viana, once of Newcastle playing fame, to bring Tomas to England.

A fee of around £20m is mooted for the teenage striker, who committed his long-term future to Sporting only last summer by signing a five-year deal. That contract is understood to have included a hefty release clause around the £50m mark, but the Portuguese giants are willing to overlook that figure and sanction a significantly cheaper sale - partly because of Sporting's excessive spending in recent years, but also because of the financial implications of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Edu are big fans of the teenager, and were suitably impressed by his performance against Benfica early in February. The duo attended the Derby de Lisboa in preparation for the Gunners' Europa League clash with Benfica, and watched Tomas help his side to a 1-0 victory.

Edu is understood to have stressed to Viana Arsenal's keenness to get a deal wrapped up, in order to avoid a repeat of what happened with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003. Arsene Wenger was famously close to securing his services, only to see Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United nip in and steal his signature instead.

A fresh faced Ronaldo joined Man Utd, not Arsenal, from Sporting | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Tomas is considered a huge prospect in Portugal, hence the mammoth contract he signed in the summer. He has already represented Portugal at Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level, and has been on the books at Sporting for six years.

His goal return in Liga NOS may seem relatively meagre, but Tomas has showed glimpses of his ability in Europe. He scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the Europa League, and has a further two goals in other cup competitions.

Source : 90min