€27m Arsenal Bosman target has NOT agreed Brazilian homecoming

Diego has not signed a deal to become a Santos player in 2014.

"I know there is interest from Premier League clubs. I have heard Arsenal is one of them. It would be the ideal destination for me because their style suits my characteristics perfectly. Of course I would say yes to Arsenal.”

Those were the words of Brazilian playmaker Diego Ribas de Cunha a little over a month ago as he issued come and get me pleas to both The Gunners and Southampton - although Mauricio Pochettino ruled out a potential move recently.

The VfL Wolfsburg player, who once cost Juventus a whopping €27 million in 2009, is out of contract in the summer and looking to leave the Bundesliga for one last big challenge at the age of 28 - and the Premier League must obviously appeal to him.

However it is two former teams that seem to be at the front of the queue - Atletico Madrid and Santos.

Atletico had him on loan in 2011-12 and are said to be keen on having him - but the favourites to snap him up are undoubtedly first club Santos.

Diego came through the ranks at Santos alongside the likes of former Manchester City maestro Elano, ex-Chelsea defender Alex and AC Milan forward Robinho and played at the club from 1996 to 2004 - when he made an ill-fated move to FC Porto.

In fact, not only are Santos favourites to sign him, but some reports even claim they already have done - with just the details left to be ironed out.

On the 11th December it was widely reported that a deal had already been cracked out for a Diego and Santos reunion.

But that is now clearly not the case - as the words of the Santos president and the player himself confirm this weekend.

Yesterday saw Santos president Otilio Rogrigues announce his interest in the player - but no confirmation of a deal was mentioned at all:

“We are working to find an agreement with Diego and then try to find common ground even with Wolfsburg."

Now Diego has again spoken about his future. Quoted in local magazine Wolfsburger Allgemeine he had this to say:

"I always said that I intend to continue my journey in Europe. But I love Brazilian football and especially the Saints. I do not shut the door. There are many clubs interested, but it may also be that with Wolfsburg extend my contract. Issue is complicated. There is a possibility (to sign pre-contract with Santos), but it's tricky to make sure this time.”

It sounds like Diego certainly wants to play for his beloved first club again at some point in his career - but maybe not just yet. He is after all just 28-years-old, and it is usually those on the other side of 30 who make that trip home.

So for now it seems he is free if Arsenal want him - and considering his previously devastating working relationship with Mesut Ozil, they might just be keen.

image: © jikatu

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