Arsenal are the latest side to express an interest in Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic and have opened talks over bringing the Bosnian to the Emirates Stadium on loan.
Barcelona are on a mission to cut costs dramatically and have already offered to terminate the contracts of both Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti, both of whom have rejected the proposal.
With that door now closed, letting the players leave on loan is seen as the most likely option. With Pjanic, a handful of sides across Europe have expressed an interest, with Tottenham Hotspur often seen as a leading suitor.
However, we’ve got a little north London derby on our hands here as Sport (via Sport Witness) state that Arsenal have joined the fun late on and have made it very clear that they would be interested in taking Pjanic on loan this season.
Arsenal have reached out to Pjanic’s representatives to discuss a deal and have informed them that they would be prepared to cover the 31-year-old’s wages, but only if they do not have to pay a fee to sign him on loan.
The same also goes for Tottenham. New boss Nuno Espirito Santo has approved the deal to sign Pjanic, but club officials will only pull the trigger if Barcelona agree to wave the loan fee.
While it’s obviously not ideal for Barcelona, the Spanish side are prepared to listen to whatever offers come their way. They are so desperate to trim their wage budget that they would let Pjanic join any side who will take his wages on.
There is seemingly the bare bones of a transfer to either Arsenal or Tottenham, but the main stumbling block is Pjanic’s preference to return to Italy, and specifically former employers Juventus.
Juventus are open to re-signing Pjanic but would need to shift some of their own midfielders first. There are no names mentioned, but you’d expect that the high-earning duo of Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey could be towards the front of the exit queue.
Juventus are currently behind in the race for his signature, and Matteo Moretto recently suggested that the chances of Pjanic returning to the Allianz Stadium are slim.
However, Marca state that ‘everything indicates’ that a loan to Juventus will be closed in the coming days, so it doesn’t seem like anyone really knows what’s going on here.
Juventus are clearly Pjanic’s first choice, but with the Italian side slow to make progress, Arsenal and Spurs will continue to fight their case.
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!