Exclusive: Arsenal Hold Secret Talks With £20m South American Winger

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Gunners keen to get the jump on Barcelona interest.

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Arsenal are said to be locked in secret talks with Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado and are hoping to come to an agreement to bring him on board from Fiorentina.

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The Gunners have been long time admirers of the 26-year-old, as have Premier League rivals Liverpool, but most recently he has been tipped to leave for Spain to link up with Barcelona instead.

However, Arsenal chief scout Steve Rowley has been in secret meetings with the player’s representatives over the last week and is hopeful of securing an agreement with them and the player sometime over the next 10 days.

One problem holding up the deal, though, is that Fiorentina are still in talks with Udinese to buy the Cuadrado’s rights as the two sides both have a stake in the player as part of a co-owndershp agreement.

Barcelona are still watching events unfold eagerly, making the deal a race against the clock, but it is thought that the Gunners are willing to open negotiations at £20m, which will appeal greatly to the Italian side who will look to reinvest the cash back into the squad.

Cuadrado is currently with the Colombian national side and is keen to join a club capable of offering him Champions League football next term, and the Gunners will look to pounce quickly as they know Barcelona will have other high-profile targets in their sights over the coming weeks.

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