Premier League • England

Greenlight granted, as unexpected Arsenal raid on Barcelona gathers pace

Barcelona stars Eric Garcia and Ferran Torres

A surprise Arsenal raid on Barcelona is underway, with Mikel Arteta sizing up an unexpected loan deal for a player he coached at Manchester City, per a report.

The Gunners will hope to go one better this season after their late-season dip saw Man City power to the title last year. Arsenal have backed Arteta in the market, with David Raya, Jurrien Timber, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz added to the ranks.

However, Timber – a £38.5m (inc. add-ons) signing from Ajax – suffered a serious ACL injury during his debut in the 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.

The versatile Dutch defender is facing an extended spell on the sidelines and may not return to action until the 2024/25 campaign.

With fellow defender Kieran Tierney on course to join Real Sociedad on loan and centre-backs Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes continuing to be linked with exits, Arsenal’s defence could soon be short on cover.

As such, the prospect of a late-window move for a multi-functional defender who can cover several positions is reportedly being explored.

Torino’s Perr Schuurs is reportedly under consideration. However, according to online outlet Football Transfers, so too is Eric Garcia.

Arteta knows the Spaniard well through their time together at Man City while Arteta served as Pep Guardiola’s No 2.

Per Football Transfers Barcelona have given the greenlight to a Garcia exit and will happily move the 22-year-old on once Joao Cancelo has arrived on loan. Cancelo’s switch from Man City is expected, though has been delayed while Barca clear the move with FFP.

However, Garcia’s potential switch to the Emirates isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

Arsenal require Barcelona compromise

Indeed, the report claims Barcelona want to sell the defender outright. For their part, Arsenal only want a season-long loan.

That stance makes sense given the move is only being explored due to Timber’s injury. Once the Dutchman returns to fitness next year, Arsenal would then have no need of Garcia.

As such, the move seemingly hinges on whether Barcelona would be willing to sanction a straight loan exit.

Football Transfers also conclude other as yet unnamed Spanish sides are showing interest in Garcia.

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