Barcelona to tempt Arsenal with shock swap that would’ve once been unthinkable

Date published: Sunday 11th July 2021 7:19 - Steve Pearson

Granit Xhaka, Pierre Eerick-Aubameyang and Willian, Arsenal, March 2021

Barcelona are reportedly keen on a surprise swap deal with Arsenal that would’ve been considered unthinkable not too long ago.

Arsenal have been tipped to perform major surgery on their midfield ranks this summer. Matteo Guendouzi has already left for Marseille on loan, while Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka could both depart permanently. In Xhaka’s case, a move to Roma to link up with Jose Mourinho had seemed the likeliest outcome.


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However, per the Sun (citing Sky Sport Italia), progress on that front has stalled. They state that a breakthrough in negotiations over the transfer fee is ‘no closer’ to being agreed with Roma ‘refusing’ to meet the Gunners’ £20m valuation.

Other avenues could therefore be explored, and a spectacular swap deal that would send Xhaka to Barcelona has now been touted.

CaughtOffside (citing Spanish outlet Don Balon) declare that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is ‘keen’ on swapping Philippe Coutinho for Xhaka.

At first glance, a trade involving a player once signed for an initial £105m for another often criticised at the Emirates would seem bizarre. However, it would make sense on multiple levels.

Firstly, Arsenal are on the hunt for creative reinforcements after Martin Odegaard opted to remain at Real Madrid.

Martin Odegaard Arsenal v Brighton May 2021

Coutinho would fill that void in the squad and would save the Gunners millions over an expensive pursuit of James Maddison for example.

Secondly, Barcelona’s financial woes are well publicised and ridding their books of Coutinho’s wages would be a big positive. Additionally, they would be acquiring a player who shone at Euro 2020 without having to pay a transfer fee.

Showdown talks to determine Arsenal, Tottenham courses

Meanwhile, Real Madrid playmaker Isco is due to have showdown talks with Carlo Ancelotti over his Real Madrid future as Tottenham and Arsenal try to sign him, according to a report.

Now 29 years old, Isco’s future in the Spanish capital is in doubt. Only one year remains on his contract, so he could be put up for sale unless Ancelotti asks to keep him.

According to the Mirror, Isco will meet with his new coach in the coming week to discuss his future.

If Isco does have to leave, he will look for an opportunity outside of Spain. As such, it is claimed that Tottenham and Arsenal could battle for his signature.

The two north London rivals have both identified the 38-time Spain international as a possible target. Arsenal need to replace Martin Odegaard following his return to Real after his loan spell. Meanwhile, Spurs are looking to strengthen under the direction of new managing director Fabio Paratici and coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

READ MORE: Arsenal move ‘expected’ with double lure on offer to tempt Premier League playmaker

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