Arsenal sporting director Edu has now flown to Brazil to hold talks for the transfer of Gremio midfielder Bitello. So, here is everything we know about the Gunners target.
Reports by Brazilian publication UOL Esporte note that Arsenal are interested in closing the transfer with Gremio for Bitello. Edu is in direct talks with the Porto Alegre outfit about any deal for the 23-year-old, too. He is eager to make the midfielder the Gunners’ latest recruit.
Gremio are likely to demand a lofty sum to sell Bitello having already parted with a number of star players. But Arsenal are intent on advancing talks with boss Mikel Arteta looking to add another promising talent to his squad at Emirates Stadium ahead of a busy 2023/24 season.
Edu flies to Brazil as Arsenal target Bitello’s transfer
Arteta wants a flurry of youthful talents at his disposal ahead of tackling the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Arsenal’s return to the Champions League. Journalist Paul Brown noted earlier on this week that Bitello is also the Gunners’ ‘favourite’ target to bolster the midfield.
So, Edu has seemingly now returned to his native Brazil to begin direct talks with the Gremio hierarchy about the transfer to Arsenal for Bitello. Imortal Tricolor president, Alberto Guerra, also confirmed earlier this week that a number of teams are pursuing his side’s midfield star.
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“There are a lot of people watching Bitello but there is no proposal,” Guerra told the Porto Alegre-based Brazilian network Rede Sul de Televisao, via quotes by the Evening Standard.
So, with Arsenal now advancing their interest in Bitello, who is the Gremio midfield ace that Edu has even flown to Brazil to hold direct talks with the Imortal Tricolor over a transfer for?
Who is Bitello?
Bitello is a central midfield player for the Brazilian Serie A side Gremio. His real name is Joao Paulo de Souza Mares. But the Brazilian is more generally referred to only by his pseudonym.
Gremio signed Bitello to the Porto Alegre club’s academy following his 18th birthday in 2018. He had played with Cascavel, Parana-based side Futebol Clube Cascavel in the midfielder’s formative years. But Bitello’s senior breakthrough came after finalising a transfer to Gremio.
FC Cascavel had afforded Bitello a chance to show his potential in their first-team. But a path into the Brazilian fourth-tier outfit’s senior ranks was not enough to keep him from Gremio’s clutches. Even if the switch to the Imortal Tricolor meant a return to the junior stage at first.
Bitello spent three further years honing his trade in Gremio’s academy before his first-team breakthrough emerged. Yet his stock rose considerably during 2022 after establishing a key presence under Roger Machado and then Renato Gaucho following a change in head coach.
Where and when was Bitello born?
Bitello was born in the municipality of Parana, Formosa do Oeste, on January 7, 2000. It is in the southern region of Brazil and only has a population of 81,000 residents as of July 2023.
What position does Bitello play?
Arsenal transfer target Bitello is most familiar with playing as a central midfielder for Gremio but can play other roles. The Brazilian has established himself as an all-action talent at the Arena do Gremio. His versatility allows Bitello to play deep and attacking engine room roles.
Gremio often let Bitello roam as a central midfielder into the defensive and advanced areas. He has even featured as a false-nine and on the right-wing thanks to his ability with the ball.
How good is Bitello?
UOL Esporte notes in its report of Arsenal’s interest in Bitello’s transfer that the Gremio star is a ‘great player technically’. It also adds that he can strike a ball very well and even has the skill to play anywhere in Europe. Yet despite being very intelligent, Bitello is still underrated.
But Bitello has now piqued Arsenal’s interest with Edu holding talks with Gremio’s chiefs for a transfer. The 5 ft 10 technician has, seemingly, impressed the Gunners with his capacity to drop a shoulder to avoid defenders. He also has rapid pace and strong positional awareness.
Arteta will know from Arsenal’s scouts that Bitello is not the complete package yet, though. Having a slender frame can cost the Gremio star when engaged in a physical battle. Arsenal would want Bitello to work on building his strength should Edu seal a transfer with Gremio.
Bitello’s stats at Gremio
Bitello enjoyed a handful of first-team appearances for FC Cascavel but his move to Gremio has returned beyond the majority of his stats in senior football to attract Arsenal’s interest.
FC Cascavel: 6 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists
Gremio: 84 appearances, 16 goals, 7 assists