The transfer window may not be open yet, but work is going on behind the scenes at Arsenal ahead of what is shaping up to be a busy summer.
Mikel Arteta made two first-team signings during the January window, with Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard both joining on loan from Brighton and Real Madrid respectively until the end of the season.
That is now five loan deals the Spaniard has overseen since returning to the Emirates Stadium in December 2019, but whether Ryan and Odegaard return remains to be seen.
As a result, the six permanent Arsenal first-team signings Arteta has made so far are Mari, Cedric, Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes, Alex Runarsson, and Thomas Partey.
But is the Spaniard already looking to increase that number to seven?
Well, according to reports in Portugal, as per Sport Witness, Arsenal have made contact with Sporting Lisbon for wonderkid Tiago Tomas who could become their first signing of the summer transfer window.
With that said, who is Tomas and why are the Gunners hoping to make him the latest recruit of the Arteta era?
Who is Tiago Tomas?
Tiago Tomas is an 18-year-old striker who currently plays in the top tier of Portuguese football with Sporting Lisbon.
Born in Lisbon, he started his career with the Carcavelos youth team, before spells at Colegio Marista and Estoril.
In the summer of 2014 he earned a move to Sporting.
After six years of youth football, Tomas made his professional debut in a 2-1 win against Gil Vicente F.C on July 1, 2020 which came a few weeks after his 18th birthday and just days after signing his first professional contract.
How has he done this season?
Tomas has picked up from where he left off towards the back end of last season when he featured in Sporting’s final six matches of the 2019/2020 campaign.
This season he made 37 appearances across all competitions as Sporting were crowned champions of Portugal for the first time in 19 years.
According to transfermarkt, the 18-year-old weighed in with six goals as well as three assists.
Interestingly, Tomas has already made a name for himself on the European stage.
He scored against Aberdeen in the Europa League third-round qualification stage all the way back in September and was on the scoresheet once again the following week as Sporting were beaten 4-1.
How much will he cost?
The Sun reported back in February that while the 18-year-old has a release clause of £52m in his contract, due to the current economic climate and Sporting’s spending in recent years, it is understood the club may accept a deal as low as £20m.
The report also claimed that Arsenal technical director Edu had been in direct contact with Sporting Lisbon director of football Hugo Viana over the deal.
According to the report, Edu and Arteta were impressed by Tomas while scouting the Sporting vs Benfica clash.
Furthermore, Edu is believed to have made it clear they do not want to regret missing out on such a player in the future after former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting before his move to Manchester United.
The latest on this potential deal is that Sporting no longer feel under any pressure to sell Tomas because of his contract situation and the prospect of seeing his valuation rise with some good performances in the Champions League next season.
Therefore, Arsenal have been made aware that they will need to bid close to Tomas’ €60m buyout clause in order to sign him this summer.
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Who else is interested?
As things stand, it’s safe to say Arsenal will not face strong competition for Tomas’ signature.
That is mainly down to the fact that, as of yet, no other club has been linked with a move for the teenager.
However, that could easily change if Tomas continues to impress for Sporting and that’s even more of a reason for Edu to speed up the process of finalising this deal.