Arsenal are reportedly leading the chase to sign 20-year-old Vitoria Guimaraes defensive midfielder Ibrahima Bamba, who is “protected” by a €30 million buy-out clause.

It’s no secret Arsenal are in the market for reinforcements in the middle of the park and appears to be closing in on an “imminent transfer” deal to land defensive midfielder Ibrahima Bamba from Portuguese outfit Vitoria Guimaraes after his agent was spotted in London this week.

That’s according to a report from Portuguese outlet Jornal de Notícias (via Sport Witness), which claims that the Gunners appear to be “on the front line” to secure the 20-year-old’s signature and are “tightening the siege” for his transfer.

The Gunners have already been active in the January transfer window with the signings of forward Leandro Trossard from Brighton, who joined after Chelsea beat them to the signing of Mykhaylo Mudryk, while defender Jakub Kiwior has also arrived from Spezia.

However, the midfield is one area of the squad that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has publicly admitted needs addressing to help the Gunners maintain the wide gap at the top of the Premier League table for the rest of the season.

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The Arsenal manager has been overly reliant on Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey as his only central midfield options in the pivot this season. They need to add more bodies in January, in order to rotate the squad and keep the players fresh. Arteta is looking for a young player with a high ceiling but who can make an immediate impact if needed.

A whole host of highly-rated players have been linked with a move to north London of late, including the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo, and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi. Ibrahima Bamba appears to be the latest midfield prospect on Arsenal’s agenda.

The young Italian began his career at F.C. Pro Vercelli 1892 before joining Vitoria in 2020. He has since broken into their first team over the past couple of seasons and penned his first professional contract at the beginning of this year.

The 20-year-old has established himself as a mainstay at the Dom Afonso Henriques stadium this campaign and has made 16 league appearances for the Conquerers, who currently sit 7th in the Portuguese top-flight, only 3 points adrift of the final Europa Conference League place.

His performances have been attracting admiring glances from clubs all across Europe, with PSG, Club Brugge, and Atalanta all credited with an interest in the midfield enforcer in recent months.

While he is still young and would need time before settling down in the Premier League, Ibrahima Bamba could be a very good acquisition for Arsenal in the long run. Despite his tender years, he has incredible flexibility and has been an absolute defensive powerhouse for his side. Bamba could be seen as a low-cost alternative and someone who they can develop down the line.

That said, the report also mentions that the player is “protected” by a €30 million release clause and is under a contract with the Portuguese outfit until the summer of 2026, so it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will trigger that to bring him to the Emirates Stadium or will try to negotiate to lower the asking price.

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