Barcelona are ready to ramp up their pursuit of Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin and are prepared to include a player in a cash-plus-swap deal, according to reports in Spain.
Both Barca and French champions Paris Saint-Germain are interested in luring the right-back away from north London this summer, with the Gunners begrudgingly prepared to cash in.
However, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, the Catalan club are working on a very restricted budget and will have to get creative in order to land Bellerin.
Their preferred option is to initially sign the 25-year-old on loan with an obligation to buy him permanently next summer – though Arsenal are very clear that they want a big fee now so they can invest in the transfer market themselves.
If Arsenal are unwilling to agree to a loan, Barca will instead try a permanent transfer but will include a player to lower the overall outlay of the deal.
As things stand, Barcelona would not be able to meet Arsenal’s £25m asking price, though that could change if they find a buyer for Nelson Semedo – who is valued at around £40m by the Spanish side.
It is not clear which player Barcelona would be prepared to sacrifice to Arsenal to land Bellerin, but the likes of Jean-Clair Todibo, Martin Braithwaite and Junior Firpo are believed to be surplus to requirements.
Barca would, however, be easily able to afford Bellerin’s salary, particularly with a number of high earners being offloaded; Ivan Rakitic has joined Sevilla, why Luis Suarez is also expected to leave.
Arsenal technical director Edu alluded to the fact that other clubs have been unwilling to stump up cash for their players on Thursday, confirming that there have been plenty of loan and swap requests such as the one proposed by Barca for Bellerin.
‘Everybody is waiting, everybody wants to do swaps, everybody is talking about loans,’ he told Arsenal’s website. ‘Where we have to be prepared is with what we really need to receive from the outside.
‘For example many clubs are asking me or talking to me about loan players or swap players but I am not seeing they are really prepared to do the kind of things they are asking me.’