Arsenal Linked With Piccini As Bellerin Replacement

Sporting Full-Back Wanted By Arsenal?

Arsenal are being linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon full-back Cristiano Piccini.

Rumours abound over a possible departure this summer for the Gunners’ Hector Bellerin and reports from Portugal are suggesting that Piccini is being earmarked as a possible replacement.

The 25-year-old has represented Italy at under-20 and under-21 level, but he chose to leave Italy after failing to break in to the first team at Fiorentina. He had loan spells at a number of lower-league Italian clubs before joining Real Betis on loan in 2014. The move was made permanent in 2015.

Piccini headed off to Sporting Lisbon last summer and has made 38 appearances for the Portugese side in all competitions.

On the face of it, Piccini doesn’t appear to have the pedigree to be a potential Arsenal signing. He is 25 but he has only made just over 80 top-flight appearances in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

The situation surrounding Bellerin is still quite complex. He is under contract at the Emirates until 2023 but he was linked last year with interest from Barcelona. Arsenal’s £40million valuation put them off.