Arteta can land Arsenal’s ‘galactico’ in Barcelona ‘domino effect’ with Messi ‘glad to play for free’

Jason Soutar
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with his sons after the final day of the Premier League season

Reported Arsenal and Manchester United target Ansu Fati is likely to be a ‘casualty’ in Barcelona’s attempts to re-sign Lionel Messi, according to Ben Jacobs.

Fati has been at Barcelona since the age of 10 and is a product of the famous La Masia youth academy.

Having been handed the club’s famous No. 10 shirt following Messi’s departure in the summer of 2021, Fati has failed to live up to the hype, mainly due to his injury woes.

He committed his future to the La Liga champions in October 2021, penning a six-year deal that can be extended up to 2029.

However, there are only a handful of Barcelona players safe from being sold as the club’s board looks to resolve their financial crisis.

Fati has been strongly linked with an exit in recent months and there is believed to be a host of Premier League clubs interested.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Wolves are all said to be keen, with an April report from Sport claiming that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta ‘dreams’ of signing the Spanish forward.

The same report said Fati is one of the ‘favourites’ to be sold in order to balance the books, with Arteta seeing him as a ‘galactico’ signing.

Rumours of a summer exit are not going away, even with Fati eager to stay at the Nou Camp.

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Ben Jacobs has provided an update on the youngster’s situation. He claims that Fati ‘could be a major casualty’ as Barcelona look to bring back Messi.

The majority of Jacobs’ report on CaughtOffside is about the potential return of Messi, so we will give you the Fati stuff first before diving into that.

It is said that the Spain international ‘wants to stay’ but ‘could be one casualty’ with Barcelona ‘needing a lot of dominos to fall into place’ in order for them to sign the Argentine legend.

Barca are not expected to make any deals within the next few weeks, which has given Saudi Arabia ‘confidence’ they can win the race to sign Messi, whose Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in June.

Jacobs says the Blaugrana are ‘desperate’ to sign Messi, who can help them compete for the Champions League after winning La Liga this term.

Obviously, the Catalan club have their fair share of financial issues, but the 35-year-old ‘would likely and gladly play for free would likely and gladly play for free’, though this ‘would be deemed as financial manipulation’.

Barca’s main competition is from Saudi Arabia, with a government-backed offer on the table since April.

Said offer would see Messi earn £320million per year, which is almost double what Cristiano Ronaldo earns with Al-Nassr.

Messi is expected to have ‘his pick of clubs’, though the Saudi Pro League hope he joins Al-Nassr’s foes, Al-Hilal, to reignite his on-pitch rivalry with Ronaldo.

The Saudi Arabian government has high hopes for football in the country with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Karim Benzema also being targeted.

Jacobs said confidence is ‘low’ in signing any of those three this summer, but since then, it has been reported that Benzema is ‘seriously considering’ an offer to move to the Middle East.

The Ballon d’Or holder is out of contract this summer and Fabrizio Romano has said he received a ‘huge, big proposal’ last Friday, with a one-year Real Madrid contract extension also on the table.

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