Premier League • England

Transfer blow for Arsenal, Barcelona as Bayern move into pole position for Ajax man

Noussair Mazraoui and Antony of Ajax

Arsenal and Barcelona have been handed a transfer setback amid claims Bayern Munich are best placed to sign Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax.

The Morocco international moved to Ajax as a youngster and came through their academy before emerging into the first team. He has gone on to appear 134 times for the Dutch outfit, scoring 10 goals.

Mazraoui has become Ajax’s first-choice right-back this season. He has played in 32 matches already, registering five goals and four assists.

He could help Ajax to win the Eredivisie title and KNVB cup in 2021-22. However, this will likely be Mazraoui’s last act for the club.

He intends to leave the Netherlands once his contract expires this summer. And plenty of European clubs have taken an interest.

Recently, it has been Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern hunting for him. According to reports in March, Barca made Mazraoui a contract offer and looked set to win the race for him.

New frontrunner for Noussair Mazraoui emerges

But the situation has changed dramatically since then. Sports Mole, who cite Spanish newspaper Marca, claim Bayern are the new frontrunners to complete a free transfer coup.

They have sent Mazraoui lucrative terms which are better than that of Xavi’s side. As such, Bayern are close to announcing an agreement with the defender.

In years gone by, Barca would have fought to take Mazraoui to the Nou Camp. However, their finances are not what they once were.

Everton Soares challenging Noussair Mazraoui

According to the original report, Barca ‘cannot afford’ to get into a bidding war with the Bundesliga giants.

Due to this, Mazraoui may move to Germany over the summer and take the next steps of his career under Julian Nagelsmann.

Arsenal had been looking at the 12-cap international to provide competition for Takehiro Tomiyasu on the right side of defence.

The Gunners also look set to sell Hector Bellerin to Real Betis once his loan spell there comes to an end. This means Arsenal chiefs should probably bring a new right-back into the squad.

However, with Bayern on the verge of capturing Mazraoui, Mikel Arteta’s side will have to scout other players.

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