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A look at Bernard's invisible Arsenal medical

Brazilian attacker Bernard is reportedly no closer to a move to Arsenal, despite what was claimed at the beginning of last week.

Should Arsenal fans chalk up Bernard to the list of players they have been linked with fruitlessly? Or can it be salvaged?

At the beginning of last week, on Monday July 22, French newspaper L'Equipe sensationally claimed Arsenal had agreed a deal for Brazilian playmaker Bernard.

The specifics of L'Equipe's report were that Bernard would travel to Arsenal on Thursday night, hours after the Copa Libertadores final second leg, and partake in a medical on Friday.

Their report was repeated by several national newspapers in Britain, even though Arsene Wenger was quick to tell The Mirror who had sent a reporter on tour with the team that it was 'untrue.'

L'Equipe's information came from Brazil, where Arsenal's interest and the belief they had been in pole position for the player had already been asserted, but it was the detail of their report and indeed the mention of a medical which suggested it really was further along than first thought.

Bernard emerged triumphant in the Libertadores, setting up a goal in Atletico Mineiro's comeback win over Olimpia, and proceeded to soak his coach with a bucket of water as part of a post-match practical joke in the press conference. We wonder what Arsene Wenger would have made of that(?!).

But as far as boarding a plane to England goes, it never materialised. Did a medical take place on Friday? No, not unless Bernard had somehow acquired the power of invisibility.

It was not the first 'failed-to-occur' medical to blight Arsenal fans this summer, waiting for news of new signings. Gonzalo Higuain was even reported to be heading to London Colney for a medical by several British newspapers early in July - but their reports had also come from false information from Latin America.

Talk persists linking Arsenal with a move for Bernard, but the reality is their focus appears to be on other areas, namely a striker.

For all the players the club have been linked with this summer, there has only been confirmation of them bidding for one player, Luis Suarez. With that situation still to be resolved - will the club go over £40 million and if so by how much? - funds of £20 million plus are unlikely to be committed for Bernard first.

His third party ownership makes a deal particularly complicated, especially with such financial arrangements not permitted in English football. This is not likely to be any quick deal.

Reports from Portugal earlier suggested Porto are to step up their pursuit of the young talent, which have further credibility when taken into account that his third party owners are also sponsoring the club's new museum, set to open in September. 

However no deal has been done yet, and Arsenal still have hope - but the message is also that even if another medical is claimed or the player is said to be veering towards them, fans should be savvy enough to wait until a deal is announced by Arsenal themselves, before actually believing it.

Do Arsenal really need Bernard? Should they wait to see what happens with Suarez first? 

image: © Crystian Cruz

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