Atletico put Gunner top of list
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
The transfer speculation surrounding Atletico Madrid has started in earnest ahead of the summer spending spree in La Liga with Gilberto Silva and Samuel Eto'o both linked with moves to the Spanish capital.
The Rojiblanco are understood to be hunting a midfield stalwart and Arsenal star Gilberto is reportedly top of their hit-list.
The Brazilian international has been an outstanding success since arriving in England, and respected Spanish daily Marca claims The Gunners have already told Atletico they have no intention of selling the South American.
Although Edu's form has seen another Brazilian push for a regular starting slot alongside Patrick Vieira, Arsene Wenger will be in no mood to part company with Gilberto during the close season as he has no reason to break up a winning team.
"It's good to know that there is interest in me," Gilberto told Marca. "I have spoken to my agent and he has told me about what was written.
"This news means I am having a good season and that my work is being valued.
"For a footballer, it is very flattering that a club looks at you and that gives you confidence in the quality of work you are doing.
"The first thing Atletico have to do is speak to Arsenal, who own my rights for another two seasons.
"They have to ask the club and, if the club says 'yes', they can then speak to the player.
"I am at a great club that has a lot of aspirations in every competition it is in and we have some very good players."
Rangers midfielder Mikel Arteta has also been forwarded in the Spanish media as a possible alternative target while separate reports are claiming Atletico are also chasing a new striker.
Mallorca marksman Samuel Eto'o has caught Gregory Manzano's eye and the Cameroon international has plenty of suitors within the European game.
However, it would appear that a midfielder is Atletico's number one priority with Real Betis' Marcos Assuncao another name to have been mentioned in connection with the club over the past couple of weeks.