Barcelona are keeping tabs on Arsenal duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, and the Blaugrana are considering launching a swap deal to land one of the pair.
Coach Ronald Koeman has claimed that the Catalan giants are in the market for a new striker, and they have written up a shortlist of summer targets – provided they are able to find a new home for outcast Martin Braithwaite.
And Sport reports that Arsenal forwards Aubameyang and Lacazette are both on that shortlist, with Barça keen to engineer a potential swap deal to land either of the superstars. In fact, the two strikers have both been offered to the Blaugrana, as the Gunners want to rid themselves of their high wages.
Barcelona’s disastrous financial situation means they are unable to pay a fee for either striker, while they have struggled to register new stars Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, having seen Lionel Messi leave the club for the same issues.
Their pursuit of a goalscorer hinges entirely on the sale of Braithwaite, and should they manage to ship out the Danish forward for a decent fee, they would then still only able to sign one of the pair.
If those circumstances came to pass, Barça would then make an offer for one of Aubameyang or Lacazette. Both strikers would like a move to Camp Nou, and the Arsenal captain even held talks with Barça over a potential transfer a few years ago.
Aubameyang has two years remaining on his current deal, which he signed last year, but his high wages combined with a poor goal return last season means Arsenal would be prepared to listen to offers for the Gabonese international.
Barça do not have funds available to offer a fee for the 32-year-old, but the Gunners are willing to discuss a swap deal, which plays into the Blaugrana’s hands. Lacazette is the other candidate, and his lower salary would certainly provide a smaller obstacle than Aubameyang’s unrivalled income at the Emirates stadium.
The Frenchman is into the final year of his contract, and Arsenal may accept a player exchange with Barcelona, before running the risk of losing the forward for nothing in six months time. It remains unclear whether Gunners coach Mikel Arteta is actually interested in any of Barça’s current first team.