New Arsenal coach Unai Emery is pushing for the signing of Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes this summer, sources have told ESPN FC.
Gomes, 24, joined Barca from Valencia for an initial fee of €35 million two years ago but has failed to make an impression at Camp Nou.
He made just six starts in La Liga last season and his lack of game time saw him cut from Portugal’s World Cup squad.
Barca are ready to cut their losses on him this summer and have received enquiries from clubs in England, Italy and Spain.
Valencia have confirmed they would like to take Gomes back on loan but the Spanish champions would prefer to sell and recoup some of — if not all — the money they spent on him in 2016.
Arsenal’s interest stems from Emery, with sources saying the former Paris Saint-Germain is especially keen to add him to the Premier League side’s midfield next season.
However, while Gomes is wanted by Emery, he was not initially a target for head of recruitment Sven Mislintat or head of football relations Raul Sanllehi.
The 14 years Sanllehi spent working at Barca before moving to the Emirates earlier this year, though, could aid negotiations if Emery gets his way.
Gomes’ performances at Valencia earned him interest from both Barca and Real Madrid before the Catalans eventually acquired his services.
But his time with the club has been difficult and he admitted earlier this year that criticism from supporters had left him unable to enjoy playing football.
“I don’t feel good on the pitch,” he told Panenka. “I am not enjoying what I am doing. The first six months [at Barca] were pretty good but then things changed.
“Maybe it’s not the right word to use, but it has turned into a kind of hell, because I have started to feel more pressure. With pressure, I feel fine, but with the pressure [I put] on myself, I don’t. The feeling that I have during games is bad.”
Barca and Gomes are both in agreement that a fresh start would not suit the player, but the club will hold out for the best deal possible.
Arsenal have already made three signings this summer, with Stephan Lichtsteiner signing on a free transfer from Juventus, goalkeeper Bernd Leno joining from Bayer Leverkusen and Sokratis Papastathopoulos arriving from Borussia Dortmund.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.