More first-team opportunities leads Traore interest in Benfica

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Benfica are moving for Arsenal defender Armand Traore to strengthen their squad in an attempt to successfully defend their Portuguese Liga crown.

Jorge Jesus’ side are 6/5 to win the league for the second year on the bounce after claiming three points in 24 of their 30 league games during the last campaign.

Meanwhile, they also only conceded 20 goals in these fixtures, with Traore potentially being handed the challenge to ensure that they are once again formidable at the back.

Traore has fallen behind Gael Clichy and Kieran Gibbs in the left-back pecking order at the Emirates and has been keen to seal a move in order to improve his chances of gaining first-team football.

It is currently unclear whether an initial loan has been agreed which will in turn lead to a £1.5 permanent switch or whether Benfica will sign the 20-year-old immediately for £3.5m.

His agent Richard des Voeux told the A Bola newspaper: “The interest is real and we are at a sensitive stage (of negotiations). Armand is aware of contacts between Benfica and Arsenal.

“Armand is very interested and excited about the possibility of coming to play at Benfica. “

Benfica’s exploits last season have also guaranteed their appearance in the group stages of the Champions League and they are 50/1 to win the tournament for the first time since 1962.

Portuguese World Cup starlet Fabio Coentrao is the current left-back at Benfica, although he can also play in a more attacking role on the left of midfield, but he could do nothing as they fell to defeat on the opening day of the current league season.

They lost 2-1 to Academia with Franco Jaro hitting their only goal.

Benfica’s next league game is away at Nacional and they are 8/13 to pick up the win.

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