L'Equipe: Arsenal have signed Bernard

that's...not how the sport is played generally - Scott Heavey

The French paper reports the deal is effectively done, but Arsene Wenger says otherwise.

According to a report from L'Equipe out of France - typically relatively reliable for Arsenal news, but not iron-clad - Brazilian playmaker Bernard will travel to London at the end of the week to complete a move to Arsenal from Atletico Mineiro. The paper reports that personal terms have already been agreed, and if he passes his medical the deal would be official. No transfer fee is reported.

L'Equipe reporter Jérôme Touboul, presumably the writer behind the initial report (the only byline is "J.T." because evidently L'Equipe is a newspaper in a Holmes story) has "confirmed" the report, which evidently now has spread to ESPN Brazil.

Of course, it can't just be that easy. The token Arsene Wenger rebuttal:

This doesn't mean much, as Wenger has a history of talking around possible transfers (if I remember right, he claimed last summer at one point that he didn't know who Santi Cazorla was). But he's also not saying that it's done, so that's no help really.

What actually does add to the story is this, from freelancer Rafael Hernández, on Porto's interest in the player.

If that's accurate information, I would not be surprised to see Bernard go to Porto first, then make a move to a bigger club. It's unlikely that he would stay there long-term, if the money is truly that much of an issue, and if the whole point is to add in another sale. It's also possible that the player would want to skip the "stepping stone" and jump straight to Arsenal (or a similarly moneyed club; Liverpool and Tottenham have both been linked).

Based on what we've seen so far here, I doubt the veracity of the L'Equipe story. Based on what I've seen from L'Equipe in the past, I wouldn't be shocked if I ended up wrong, and Bernard is an Arsenal player by the end of the week. It seems unbelievable, but I suppose stranger things have happened. It's really a toss-up for me right now, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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