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Arsenal, Newcastle United 'leading race for Napoli's Fabian Ruiz'

Arsenal, Newcastle 'leading race for Fabian Ruiz'
© Reuters
Arsenal and Newcastle United reportedly lead the race for Napoli's Fabian Ruiz, who could be available for just £25.8m this summer.

Arsenal and Newcastle United are reportedly at the head of the queue for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz.

The 26-year-old enjoyed another fine season under the tutelage of Luciano Spalletti with seven goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign.

Eleven of Ruiz's contributions came in 32 Serie A matches, as the Spaniard helped Napoli finish nine points clear of Juventus in third place, sealing Champions League qualification as a result.

However, Ruiz is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract with the Partenopei, who could therefore be pressured into a cut-price sale in the coming weeks.

A fee of £25.8m will supposedly be enough to prise the Spain international away from Napoli as the Italian giants aim to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2023.

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz pictured in September 2021© Reuters

According to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport, Newcastle still hold a firm interest in Ruiz after seeing a £42m bid for the midfielder rejected during the January window.

However, Arsenal are also said to be at the head of the queue to sign Ruiz and will have the advantage of European football in negotiations with the ex-Real Betis man.

The Gunners have already bolstered their midfield during the current transfer window, with Fabio Vieira's arrival from Porto on a five-year deal being confirmed on Tuesday.

Leicester City's Youri Tielemans was thought to be a prime target for the engine room, but Arsenal have reportedly cooled their interest in the Belgian while they focus on other targets.

Mikel Arteta's side are prioritising a deal for Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus before improving other areas, which could open the door for another interested party to swoop in for Ruiz.

Fabian Ruiz in Coppa Italia action for Napoli on February 12, 2020© Reuters

The Spain international commanded a £27m fee when he left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018, and he has gone on to amass 22 goals and 15 assists in 166 appearances for the Partenopei.

Ruiz's solitary piece of silverware with Napoli came in the 2019-20 Coppa Italia, and he is also thought to be on the radar of Manchester City and Manchester United.

The Premier League champions could acquire a new midfielder this summer following Fernandinho's exit, while Bernardo Silva also continues to be linked with a move away.

Silva is supposedly tempted by the prospect of a move to Barcelona, but City manager Pep Guardiola expects the Portuguese to remain at the club next season.

Meanwhile, Man United have already lost Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard on free transfers as Erik ten Hag desperately seeks out midfield reinforcements.

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong is still at the top of the list, but Brentford's Christian Eriksen has reportedly turned down the chance to move to the Theatre of Dreams.

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