Arsenal are reportedly set to open talks with Philippe Coutinho’s agent over a deal to sign the Brazilian from Barcelona.
The 27-year-old attacker has failed to shine at the Nou Camp since his move from Liverpool in 2018 and has spent the season on loan at Bayern Munich.
They had the option to turn it into a permanent arrangement for £105million ($A195 million) but the German
champions’ chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed they have not taken it up.
He said: “The option has expired and we have not exercised it. We will see if the player can still have a role to play with us or not.”
Barcelona are looking to offload a number of players once the transfer window re-opens and the ex-Inter Milan forward is one of those available.
Chelsea have been linked with a move for months, but now Le10 Sport claims Arsenal are positioning themselves to sign him.
They state Mikel Arteta is driving the potential swoop and “dreams” of bringing Coutinho to North London and making him a focal point of his side.
The Gunners have allegedly made arrangements with his representative Kia Joorabchian to thrash out personal terms.
But Arteta’s plans could be scuppered if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League and miss out on the financial reward that comes with it.
Speaking last week to talkSPORT, Joorabchian said: “At the moment, we have not spoken to anybody about any deals whatsoever.
“I think at the moment everyone’s concentration is regarding this pandemic and how football can restart the season in a secure environment and over the health and safety of everybody.
“I think the transfer side of things and where he will go or where people will go will come into play down the line when things have got back to some sort of normality.”