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Arsenal have suffered a transfer setback with reports suggesting that Spanish giants Barcelona have ‘prioritised’ a move for Renato Sanches.
The Gunners have been keeping tabs on Sanches all season with a view to making a move for the 24-year-old midfielder.
After spending more than any other Premier League side in the summer, Mikel Arteta has reportedly been given the green light to bolster his squad again in January to boost the Gunners bid for a top-four finish.
But he could face disappointment in his pursuit of Sanches with Barcelona ready to nudge ahead of Arsenal in the race for the Portuguese ace’s signature.
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According to Portuguese broadcaster ELEVEN, Barca are plotting a move for Sanches this month.
The La Liga side have been busy already this month under new boss Xavi Hernandez, forking out £45million to lure Ferran Torres to the Nou Camp from Manchester City.
And it now appears that Xavi has earmarked Sanches as a priority signing to bolster Barcelona’s midfield.
Sanches has rebuilt his reputation in France with current Ligue 1 champions Lille after a rollercoaster career.
But the French side have already admitted that they won’t stand in his way if a big-money offer arrives for the former Bayern Munich ace this month.
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Arsenal are currently short in midfield after Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny jetted off to Cameroon this week for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Gunners are also set to give Ainsley Maitland-Niles the green light to wrap up a six-month loan switch to AS Roma; hinting that plans are afoot for the Londoners to dip into the transfer market to bolster their squad for the second half of the Premier League season.
If they do manage to strike a deal for Sanches, the 32-cap Portugal star will be eager to make a bigger impact in the Premier League than he did previously.
Sanches spent an ill-fated stint on loan at Swansea City when the Swans were in the top flight back in 2017.
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He made just 12 league appearances and didn’t make a single competitive appearance after January after falling out of favour under then-boss Carlos Carvalhal.
Sanches has shown commendable character to rebuild his career since then and even played a key role in Portugal’s historic Euro 2016 win.
But it was his performances for Portugal at Euro 2020 this summer that caught the eye of Arsenal.
It remains to be seen if they’ll be able to persuade Sanches to take another crack at the Premier League instead of signing up for Xavi’s rebuilding job in Catalonia.
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