Mikel Arteta reportedly failed to convince Joao Cancelo to join Arsenal in the summer with Manchester City eager to sell him at the end of 2023/24.
Cancelo joined Barcelona in the summer transfer window after an average stint on loan at Bayern Munich in the second half of last season.
The Portuguese full-back fell out of favour at the Etihad in January, which led to the surprise loan to Germany and he was again surplus to requirements at the end of the season.
Bayern opted not to sign him permanently, which made Barcelona the frontrunners for his signature, though Arsenal were also believed to be keen.
The Blaugrana’s financial problems cast doubt over the signing of Cancelo, with some reports claiming they would not be able to register him for the 2023/24 campaign.
They did get the deal over the line and the 29-year-old has impressed in Catalonia, providing five goal contributions in 16 appearances across all competitions.
And on Tuesday evening, he was named man of the match after scoring and assisting in his side’s 2-1 win over FC Porto in the Champions League.
Barcelona are reportedly eager to make the signing of Cancelo permanent and according to Spanish outlet Sport (via Sport Witness), the player’s ‘difficult relationship’ with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola means he will permanently leave the European champions at the end of the season.
It is claimed that agreeing a transfer with the La Liga champions will not be easy but everything indicates that he will continue at the Nou Camp, which the player ‘absolutely prioritises’.
Amidst links to Arsenal and Saudi Arabia in the summer, Cancelo ‘only wanted’ Barcelona and his mindset is expected to be the same when his loan comes to an end.
City apparently want as much as €50million (£43.2million) after Barca failed to include a €30m (£25.9m) buy option in the summer, likely due to Cancelo’s contract not expiring until 2027.
There is a belief that another loan deal will be agreed, this time with a mandatory buy clause.
The report also confirms that Arsenal tried to sign Cancelo from their Premier League rivals in the summer.
Cancelo can play as a right-back or left-back and given the Gunners’ reported interest in Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong, Mikel Arteta was probably hoping to play him on the right.