Arsenal line up shock signing of Man City ace Guardiola is finished with after Barcelona hopes fade

Man City stars Joao Cancelo and Erling Haaland

Arsenal could spring a shock by signing Man City ace Joao Cancelo

Barcelona’s inability to meet Manchester City’s demands regarding the sale of a superstar Pep Guardiola is finished with has opened the door for Arsenal to strike, according to a report.

A pair of established stars – Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus – have already swapped the Etihad for the Emirates in recent years. According to Spanish outlet Sport, a third, even higher profile name could follow suit.

The future of versatile full-back Joao Cancelo is coming to a crossroads, though all sources agree it won’t lay in Manchester.

The 29-year-old fell out with Guardiola in the first half of last season and was duly turfed out to Bayern Munich on loan.

Once Bayern opted against activating their option to buy last summer, another loan exit was sanctioned, this time to Barcelona.

Cancelo has done exactly what you’d expect in Spain, which is perform to an exceedingly high level. The Portuguese was among City’s most important figures in their title-winning campaigns in 2020/21 and 2021/22, though saw his influence decline once Guardiola changed tactics.

The City boss generally operates with centre-halves in the full-back positions now, with only Kyle Walker surviving the change.

As such, various outlets in Spain have claimed Man City will seek to sell Cancelo this summer and they greatly favour a permanent exit rather than a third loan.

On the back of Cancelo’s sparkling form for Barca at both right-back and left-back, it’s no surprise to learn the LaLiga giant want to re-sign Cancelo.

EURO PAPER TALK: Man Utd move for defender who ‘did a job on Saka’; €60m Arsenal signing made easy by Xabi Alonso

Barcelona want Cancelo, but can they afford it?

Speaking to Mundo Deportivo last month, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said: “I think they (Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix – also on loan) will continue.

“I hope that Atletico Madrid will not put any objection to Joao Felix continuing with us and I think that Man City will not object either.

“We have an agent there who is working on the issue, Jorge Mendes, and he knows our intention to continue with the players.

“What I can’t tell you now, because it will depend a lot on the amounts, is whether we are going to sign them or extend the loan.

“It will surely be an extension of the transfer, already setting a price.”

Taking to X, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano clarified what Laporta meant in that last line. Per the reporter, Laporta was referencing a loan with an option/obligation to buy.

But according to a fresh update from Sport, Man City are expected to hold out for a clean break and a permanent sale.

Sport also state that is the type of deal Barcelona simply cannot finance, thus opening the door for others to strike.

Arsenal rivalling Saudi interest in Cancelo

Interest from the Saudi Pro League is swirling, though per Sport, a shock switch to Arsenal is also in play.

The Gunners were linked with Cancelo last summer, though ultimately went on to sign the equally versatile Jurrien Timber instead.

Whether Arsenal would get serious for Cancelo who’ll turn 30 in May remains to be seen. Whether they do may hinge on whether Man City are willing to sell to a direct title rival.

It’s important to note Arsenal only finished fifth in the season prior to signing Zinchenko and Jesus from City. Whether Guardiola’s side would be willing to strengthen the Gunners even further now that they’re bona fide title challengers is unclear.

HAVE YOU SEEN: Why Arsenal WILL beat Liverpool and Man City to the Premier League title: Key defensive improvements explained

In any case, signing Cancelo would represent an almighty coup for Mikel Arteta and co. He’d also add experience of winning major trophies year after year, which is something Arsenal’s relatively young squad currently lack.

Cancelo was named in successive Premier League teams of the season in 2021 and 2022. He also earned a spot in the FIFPro World XI in 2022.

Sport concluded Cancelo’s preference is to play for Barcelona next season and beyond. But if Man City make it clear it’s a permanent deal or bust, the Arsenal avenue could be explored.

DON’T MISS: Roy Keane destroys Erling Haaland with brutal put-down, as Micah Richards reveals major red flag after Man City, Arsenal draw