Arsenal in pole position to sign in-demand winger.
Arsenal may now be the favourites to sign in-demand Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado from under the noses of Barcelona as talks between the two clubs broke down, CaughtOffside understands.
The Colombian attacker has been one of the stars of the Serie A season this year, scoring 15 goals and providing eight assists to attract strong interest from a number of top European clubs, including Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus.
However, it seemed for some time that Barcelona would be the favourites to win the race for his signature, with new manager Luis Enrique keen to make the 26-year-old his first signing since taking over at the Nou Camp.
Still, Arsenal have remained keen on keeping an eye on his situation, and may now be in pole position to snap the player up after talks with Barcelona hit a standstill, with the Catalan giants unsure about meeting the player’s asking price of £24m.
Barca are likely to sell one of, or possibly both, Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez, and had hoped to bring in funds from the sale of one of these wide players before making a final decision on Cuadrado, but there has been little progress on Sanchez’s proposed move to Juventus.
Arsenal have not previously been known for splashing out big sums of money for big-name players, but smashed their transfer record last summer when they brought in Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5m, and are now seemingly happy to cough up the required £24m to sign the immensely talented Cuadrado ahead of other big clubs.
The Gunners have been linked with a number of wide-players in recent months as Arsene Wenger looks to have more in the way of depth to deal with the absence of the injury-prone Theo Walcott, who missed the majority of this season and who could also be absent for the beginning of the next campaign.
Cuadrado’s ability to fill in on either flank will appeal to Wenger, as will his pace and directness, which would give the team some variety from the likes of Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, who all play in a similar manner.
With the skillful midfielder currently co-owned by Fiorentina and Udinese, Arsenal will still need to agree a fee of £12m with each club, but are growing increasingly confident that they can do so and convince the player himself to make the move to the Emirates Stadium.
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