Cristiano Ronaldo has been heavily linked with an from Manchester United, though it seems Arsenal want to sign the 37-year-old’s protege instead

Arsenal transfer chief Edu could gift Mikel Arteta his own Cristiano Ronaldo in the shape of Yeremy Pino. The ɢυппeгѕ  are said to be rivalling Liverpool for the Villarreal winger’s signature after he snubbed a move to Barcelona.

Pino, who has admitted that the Manchester United striker is his ‘point of reference for everything’, has been heavily linked with an exit amid a meteoric rise under the stewardship of former Arsenal boss Unai Emery. With the 19-year-old hugely impressing for the Yellow Submarines and courting the interest of Arteta, the north Londoners seemingly have the chance to sign a Ronaldo protege.

As quoted by Sport Witness, Pino has explained why he looks up to and aspires to follow in the footsteps of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Speaking of Ronaldo’s influence on his career, he said: “He won me over with his mentality and sacrifice. A player who might not be a pure talent, but who, based on work, perseverance and effort, gets to where he wants to.

“Then he comes from Madeira, an island like Gran Canaria, and looking at him, I also recognised myself in emigration, suffering, difficulties,” Pino added. “For me, he was a point of reference for everything.”

“Today, the thing that strikes me most about him is his intact ambition. He is 37 and continues to fight and work harder than anyone to keep winning.

“An example, I know that there are people who say that he affects the way a team plays. I reply that he is still one of the few able to carry that team on his shoulders and win a game alone.”

Pino, who sees his contract at the Estadio de la Cerámica expire in 2027, featured 31 times for Villarreal in La Liga last season, directly contributing to ten goals. His impressive displays for the Spanish side caught the attention of Luis Enrique, with the youngster winning his first handful of senior caps for Spain.

And, AS claim that Villarreal have recently become aware of the interest from Arsenal and Liverpool. The report adds that a big offer would lead to a ‘difficult decision’ for the club who have one of Europe’s most exciting talents in their armoury.

AS add that Pino has a £67million release clause, however, it’s said that both Arsenal and Liverpool have tabled offers worth €40million (£33.7m). Should Villarreal surrender the services of their prized asset, it’s believed that Emery would reinvest the windfall into the signing of out-of-favour Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso.

In the meantime, the 26-year-old Argentine looks set to join the Spanish club on loan. All in all, at what cost to Arsenal indirectly grant their arch rivals a healthy windfall for a raffle signing of their own Ronaldo?