Barcelona transfer news: Coutinho gets Iniesta's approval, Wenger's poaching plans and more - 22nd December 2017
Xavi and Iniesta approve Coutinho signing
The Liverpool no.10 is Barcelona's top target for a while now and the Catalan club have been relentless in their pursuit despite three rejected bids in the summer. While a January bid seems extremely likely, the English club are expected to stay firm at least until the summer.
However, this has not stopped Barcelona players, present and past, to openly talk about the player. This time around, Andres Iniesta spoke about Coutinho to Mundo Deportivo and said:
“I see him as a great player with a lot of talent who uses both feet, creates goals, combines very well and finds space between midfield and attack. He is a player with a profile quite like ours and would be a great signing if he finally arrives. I do not see him as my competition but as a lift for the club.”
Backing Iniesta was his former team-mate Xavi. The club legend was asked whether he would consider signing the Brazilian and he told the same outlet:
“He is the closest thing to Neymar, he could even play in the midfield for Barcelona. He is a player to keep in mind.”
As the transfer window approaches, rumours are becoming relentless and there is a feeling amongst the Barcelona faithful that it is a matter of when than if.
Wenger eyeing Jose Arnaiz in January
The 22-year old winger joined the Blaugrana from Valladolid in the summer and has so far failed to make it into Ernesto Valverde's first-team squad. His only appearance came in the Copa del Rey match against Real Murcia when he came off the bench to score the third goal. Barring that, Arnaiz has been playing for the Barcelona B team and has scored 6 goals in 18 appearances so far.
Now, Arsene Wenger is interested in the player, as per Spanish news outlet, Marca. The Frenchman has a history of poaching talented Barcelona youngsters and helping them succeed in England. Arnaiz could very well be another name in that list with the London club willing to activate the Spaniard's €20 million release clause in January, as per the report.
While the winger is definitely not on the same level as Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil, who are likely to leave in 2018, he can definitely prove to be a solid squad option. Further, if Wenger can nurture him like he did with Cesc Fabregas or more recently, Hector Bellerin, then the Gunners will have a player on their hands.
Meanwhile, for Barcelona, the impending arrivals of several top players could see an exodus from Camp Nou. Thus, the Spanish giant would not miss out on Arnaiz given the quality of players in the current squad as well as the possible arrivals in 2018. Thus, a move would suit all the parties involved, making this a highly possible transfer in the upcoming window.
Barcelona bid for David Luiz
The Chelsea defender is in his second stint at the London club and a recent bust-up with manager Antonio Conte led to his alienation from the first-team. This has led to speculation that the Brazilian will be looking to move away from Stamford Bridge with the World Cup on the horizon. Arsenal and Barcelona were reportedly interested in recent weeks and now Telefoot gives a positive news for the Blaugrana fans.
The news outlet reports that the Catalan club officials have already made contact with Luiz's entourage and a loan bid has been submitted to the Premier League champions. This news does not come as a surprise for Valverde needs defensive cover after the club's approval of Javier Mascherano's sale to Hebei China Fortune in January.
Thus, it makes sense for the La Liga leaders to sign a player with valuable experience in winning titles on both the domestic and European front. On the other hand, the emergence of Andreas Christensen means Conte already has a successor to Luiz's position. If the Blues boss sanctions the move, then Luiz will very likely move to Spain without any hesitation.
Meanwhile, the 30-year old can prove to be a shrewd acquisition for Barcelona in January while they target a younger centre-back in the summer transfer window.