Arsenal could face disappointment in their efforts to sign James Rodriguez – if Lionel Messi gets his way and Barcelona prise the Colombian away from Real Madrid.
Rodriguez is currently on loan at Bayern Munich but has fallen out of favour under Niko Kovac this season, starting just five times in the Bundesliga, and leaving his future very much under the spotlight.
Bayern paid Real a £11.9m two-year loan fee when previous manager Carlo Ancelotti brought him to the club in summer 2017, with an option to make the move a permanent £39.1m switch this summer.
It has led to reports suggesting Arsenal are looking at the Colombia international, as a long-term replacement for Mesut Ozil, who has been told told his Arsenal career is drawing to a close.
But according to Don Balon there has been a twist, with Real’s Clasico rivals Barcelona also alerted to Rodriguez’s possible availability.
Kovac has reportedly made it clear to Bayern that he does not want the club to sign the former Monaco man on a permanent deal, ‘ordering’ his departure in the summer.
This is where the Catalan side believe they can launch a swoop: they are willing to pay the €50m fee required to sign Rodriguez, while Ernesto Valverde, Lionel Messi and other key Barca players would welcome his arrival.
However, the player’s agent Jorge Mendes has apparently warned Barca of the existence of an anti-Barca clause that would make any deal very difficult.