The genius Arsenal and Fulham summer swap transfer deal that would see both clubs hit next level

The Gunners have been linked with a move for a key Fulham player
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Joao Palhinha is likely to be a very popular man this summer. The Fulham midfielder seems to enhance his personal reputation with every passing performance for the Cottagers, and as attention slowly begins to turn towards the end of the season and a subsequent transfer window, the expectation is that the Portuguese star will be heavily in demand.

Indeed, a report from Football Insider is already suggesting that Palhinha will be at the centre of a three-way tug of war between Liverpool, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich over the coming months. All three have been linked with the 28-year-old previously, with Bayern actually witnessing a big money swoop for the player collapse at the eleventh hour last summer.

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As for Liverpool, the anticipated departure of Thiago Alcantara almost certainly means that the Reds will delve into the market for reinforcements this year, while Arsenal too are expected to bolster their engine room as they firm up their Premier League title ambitions. For their part, Fulham would understandably be reluctant to lose one of their prize assets, but may be forced into considering 'sensible offers' for Palhinha, as per the club's vice-chairman Tony Khan.

In terms of what would represent a 'sensible' bid, it is understood that Fulham could demand around £60 million for the midfielder, who is under contract in West London until 2028. And that figure could present Arsenal in particular with a problem.

You see, the Gunners need a striker. With their only two senior options at the time of writing being Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, the common consensus is that Mikel Arteta and Edu will spend the vast majority of their effort and resources this summer trying to lure a proven centre forward to the Emirates. The only problem is, players of the requisite quality needed to lead the line for Arsenal don't come cheap. Ivan Toney, perennially linked with the Gunners, could cost as much as £80 million, while Victor Osimhen, another popular alternative, would likely set them back upwards of £100 million.

As such, any opportunity to save money in other areas would be readily welcomed. This is where Emile Smith Rowe comes in. There is no denying that the Hale End academy graduate is highly thought of at the Emirates, but it feels increasingly as if his long-term future may lie away from his boyhood club. Injuries have hindered his first team aspirations in recent times, and there have been suggestions that the likes of West Ham and Aston Villa both admire him greatly.

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But if Smith Rowe is to leave, then why not use his departure to help bring in a player who can notably strengthen the Gunners? Even according to conservative estimates, it is understood that Arsenal would demand as much as £40 million for the 23-year-old, and while Fulham would perhaps baulk at that valuation, it would at least suggest that if they so desired, the Premier League title hopefuls could offer up a makeweight with the potential to halve Palhinha's asking price.

Because when all the moving parts are considered, there is a lot to like about a prospective cash-plus-player swap agreement. Arsenal get their man at a reduced price, Fulham bring in a talent who would surely bolster their attacking potential, Palhinha finally earns his high profile transfer, and Smith Rowe starts afresh with a side who would provide him with the kind of first team opportunities that he may never get at the Emirates. Everyone's a winner.

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