South American football expert Tim Vickery has shared how infamous Arsenal target Luis Suarez has transformed Bitello amid reports linking the Brazilian with a transfer.

The Gunners have their eyes on Bitello moving to Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta works to strengthen his engine room. Sporting director Edu is even holding talks with Gremio over the potential for a deal after seeing the 23-year-old easily make the step up to top-flight football.

Bitello helped Gremio return to the Brazilian Serie A for the 2023 campaign with seven goals and three assists. It took the midfielder 36 Serie B outings, of which he started 32, to amass his tally. Yet the versatile technician already has three goals from 13 fixtures in the top-flight.

Gremio v Botafogo - Brasileirao 2023
Photo by Richard Ducker/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Gremio star Bitello transfer to Arsenal latest

Reports by UOL Esporte earlier this week noted that Edu had flown over to Brazil to speak to Gremio for Bitello’s potential transfer to Arsenal. The Emirates Stadium chief wanted to hold direct discussions with the Porto Alegre natives, who sit third in Serie A through 14 matches.

READ MORE: Who is Bitello? Everything we know about the Gremio star linked with Arsenal

Gremio are likely to hold out for a hefty sum before selling Bitello having already sanctioned transfers for several stars. But Arsenal are adamant on advancing talks following Paul Brown also reporting that Bitello is Arteta and Edu’s ‘favourite’ target to strengthen their midfield.

While Gremistas even now reports that Arsenal are about to make Gremio an offer to secure Bitello’s transfer. Edu is set to table the Gunners’ first bid in the coming days after learning of the Imortal Tricolor’s €10m (£8.5m) valuation. But he may not move to England before 2024.

READ MORE: All Arsenal confirmed signings and transfers out in 2023/24

Bitello is unlikely to get a work permit to play in England having not played enough top-flight games or international football. He has not represented Brazil at any level so far. So, Arsenal might let Bitello stay at Gremio until December to strike his transfer and to play more games.

Luis Suarez has transformed Bitello in 2023

Arsenal transfer target Bitello celebrates with Luis Suarez of Gremio
Photo by Richard Ducker/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Now, with Bitello being linked with a transfer to Arsenal, South American football expert Tim Vickery has explained how infamous Gunners target Luis Suarez has helped the midfielder to find new levels since the Uruguayan forward moved to the Arena do Gremio back in January.

READ MORE: Everything we know about Arsenal’s 2023 pre-season tour

Writing in a column for ESPN, Vickery has dubbed Bitello ‘something of a late developer’. He also notes that the midfielder ‘perhaps flew under the radar’ in 2022 with Gremio playing in the second-tier. But the arrival of Suarez has made Bitello a player that Arsenal want to sign.

“Bitello has been a star in Gremio’s return to the top-flight and the acquisition of Luis Suarez has done him nothing but good,” he said. “The veteran Uruguayan is operating on a quicker mental plane than most.

“But Bitello has dovetailed with him extremely well, leading Arsenal to believe that he can cope with the step up. He is quick and versatile, able to play wide or through the middle.”

Arsenal will hope their pursuit of Bitello’s transfer from Gremio does not become a saga like when Arsene Wenger targeted Suarez at Liverpool. The Guardian noted in July 2013 how the Gunners’ £40m plus £1 bid for the striker had angered the Reds, who rejected it out of hand.

Wenger had improved the north London club’s initial £30m plus £5m in add-ons offer for the forward. But Anfield chiefs held firm in their stance that the second package did not trigger a release clause. In the end, Suarez stayed put and moved to Barcelona for £75m in July 2014.

Related Topics