Arsenal’s left-back It’s said that Lino Sousa is almost certain to sign a long-term contract with Aston Villa.
The highly regarded 19-year-old joined the Emirates in January 2022 after leaving the junior programme at West Bromwich Albion to further his career with the Gunners.
With five goals and one assist in 36 games for the Under-21s, Sousa has made an impact on the Arsenal development teams. He also played a major part in the Gunners’ journey to the FA Youth Cup final the previous year.
During his stay in North London, the adolescent has trained with Mikel Arteta’s first team, although he has only appeared in one Premier League matchday squad, against Brentford in September 2022, as an unutilized replacement.
Sousa’s last appearance for Arsenal came as a substitute during their 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool earlier this month. Before that, there had been talk that Sousa might make his first-team debut against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.
To the dismay of fans, Sousa was not included in the squad for that 1-1 draw, along with fellow academy graduates Ethan Nwaneri and Reuell Walters, who were also unable to see action.
In an emergency, Arteta has chosen center-back Jakub Kiwior on the left wing; therefore, Sousa has not been given a look-in despite the injuries to Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jurrien Timber, and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano now claims that Sousa is close to leaving his two-year contract at Arsenal to sign with Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, who have outbid a number of other elite teams for his services.
The former West Brom young player was reportedly interested in joining Juventus, Rangers, and Galatasaray; however, Villa and Arsenal have already agreed on a permanent deal.
Sousa is said to have already finished his Villa medical, but the Lions want to send him on loan to the Championship instead of integrating him into the starting lineup right away.
Romano notes that while Villa has not yet given the go-ahead for the left-back to go to Home Park, Plymouth Argyle has had talks about signing Sousa for the balance of the season.
Sousa will be Arsenal’s first permanent departure of the January transfer window if the deal closes without any last-minute hiccups. He may be one of two full-backs to say farewell to the Gunners permanently.
Unpopular right-back Galatasaray is reportedly considering signing Cedric Soares, whose contract expires in the summer. Teams in Turkey have until February 9 to complete their transfer business.