Arsenal, Newcastle United handed Matheus Franca warning

Newcastle and Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Brazilian sensation Matheus Franca, with Flamengo vice-president Marcos Braz claims the 18-year-old is “not for sale” this January.

Newcastle United and Arsenal’s transfer plans to sign 18-year-old Brazilian attacking prodigy Matheus Franca have suffered a hammer blow after Flamengo vice president Marcelo Braz insisted that the player is not for sale this month.

Marco Baz stated this week, as relayed by HITC, “We do not put Matheus Franca up for sale. He is not for sale. We are not interested in negotiating Matheus Franca at this moment.”

Since Dan Ashworth’s arrival at St. James’ Park as Newcastle United’s sporting director, the Magpies have placed somewhat of an emphasis on attracting young players to the club.

The likes of Sven Botman, Garang Kuol, and Alexander Isak, who are all 23 or younger, have arrived under the former Brighton supremo’s watch, in addition to a host of others in the youth ranks. Transfer targets such as Anthony Gordon and Conor Gallagher also demonstrate the direction of travel the club aim to take, i.e. assemble a highly-talented young core to build for sustained future success.

However, the winter window has been frustrating for Eddie Howe and co., with moves for Youssoufa Moukoko, Hakim Ziyech, Ivan Fresneda, and Andrey Santos falling through earlier this month. And the pursuit of Matheus Franca seems poised to be the latest setback after Flamengo’s vice president Braz reaffirmed that the 18-year-old is not for sale in the January transfer window.

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The Magpies have been linked with the teenager throughout the window and reportedly offered €16 million for his services in recent days. But it is believed that Flamengo are bent on playing hardball for their Brazilian wonderkid and that Newcastle’s opening bid was quickly rebuffed, with the Brazilian outfit demanding around €20 million, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Compared to the likes of Neymar, Vinicius Jr. and Rodrigo for his creativity and skills, Franca is an exciting talent who has already managed seven goals in 29 senior appearances for Flamengo. At 18, he also fits the profile of the type of player Ashworth is aiming to sign.

Franca, who is under contract with Flamengo until 2027 and boasts a £75 million release clause, is said to be interested in joining St. James’ Park. But it remains to be seen whether Newcastle can tempt Flamengo back on the negotiation table with another improved bid.

The Magpies face stiff competition from a number of clubs for Franca’s signature. It is thought that Arsenal are also interested in the 18-year-old as Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his midfield roster for the second half of the season.

The Gunners have already had a highly active January transfer window, with significant money spent on Jakub Kiwior and Leandro Trossard. And a deal for 18-year-old Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda is also in the works. It will be interesting to see whether Arsenal will be able to add further players to their squad in the January transfer window. But it appears that Franca will not be among the fresh additions.

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