Arsenal transfer news: Arteta plans to steal player ‘even God couldn’t stand’ from Barcelona

Robin Bairner
Mikel Arteta, Joan Laporta, Barcelona, 2023/24

Arsenal are plotting a shock summer move for a player that Barcelona have had their hopes set on signing for months.

Barca president Joan Laporta has repeatedly pledged to fans of the club that he will keep loan signings Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo at the club, yet the Blaugrana face serious competition from the Gunners for the latter of these players, according to reports from Spain.

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Arsenal have previously held an interest in Cancelo, with FootballTransfers reporting in September that they made a late raid last summer for the Manchester City player. Ultimately, though, he moved to Barcelona.

READ MORE: Real Madrid demand €90m as Arsenal make HUGE offer

Now the Emirates club are once again associated with the 29-year-old, despite reports indicating that City would reject any approach from the Gunners for the player.

Although Arsenal’s Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have performed solidly at right-back this season, Cancelo is being targeted with an eye to playing on their left. It has been a problem position.

Sport reports that the Gunners are attempting to hijack Barcelona’s move for the player, aware that the Catalan club will struggle to fund a permanent transfer.

READ MORE: Guardiola confirms Grealish exit: Arsenal panic as Aston Villa stand to win big

Joao Cancelo, Barcelona
© IMAGO – Joao Cancelo, Barcelona

“There are no sporting doubts to retain him at the Blaugrana club, but the operation could become very complicated. Joao Cancelo and Manchester City are already experiencing strong interest from Saudi Arabian football to sign him in the summer and the temptation is on the table,” the Camp Nou side have been warned.

Such is Barcelona’s trepidation over completing a permanent deal, Michael Kayode of Fiorentina has been earmarked as a possible alternative.

Cancelo a timebomb

Cancelo is not a player universally admired, though.

“We have explained it several times,” journalist Lu Martin said. “It’s a problem of attitude and behaviour. If there’s one thing Pep can’t stand it’s bad behaviour and being overweight.

“Cancelo’s behaviour was not the right one, although as a footballer he has tremendous quality. The same thing happened to him at Valencia. He didn’t leave because he didn’t play badly, he left because even God couldn’t stand him.”

Cancelo’s relationship with Pep Guardiola is well known to be a fiery one, while a loan spell at Bayern Munich last season ended with him falling out with several figures at the Allianz Arena.

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