Arsenal are closing in on a loan deal for Denis Suarez after head coach Unai Emery convinced the wideman to join the Gunners, Goal understands.
Emery confirmed in a pre-match press conference on Thursday that Arsenal will not be making any permanent signings during the January transfer window , but admitted that loan signings are possible.
The Gunners brought in Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Matteo Guendouzi during the summer transfer window and are expecting an increased transfer budget this summer when their new £300m kit deal with Adidas kicks in.
Suarez, though, has been identified as player who can compete with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a place on the flanks during the second half of the season, having previously worked under Emery when the two were at Sevilla in the 2014-15 season.
“I don’t know his [Suarez] situation now,” said Emery. “We can only sign players later on. I know the club is working on possibilities of which players can help us with big performances like we need now.”
Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s head of football, has been leading negotiations for the Gunners with Barcelona, where he previously worked at for nine years.
Suarez’s contract expires in the summer of 2020, which means an obligation to buy clause is likely to be inserted in the deal.
The 25-year-old is expected to be involved in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey match against Levante on Thursday after the Blaugrana named an 18-man squad for the match at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia before completing the formalities of his move to north London, with the two clubs in advanced discussions over the loan move.
Suarez's arrival may also help offset the summer departure of Aaron Ramsey, with the Wales international having agreed terms with Serie A champions Juventus ahead of a free transfer at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the search for a centre-back to bolster Arsenal’s threadbare defence continues with Konstantinos Mavropanos likely to feature for the Under-23 side against Manchester City on Monday.
There is an increased belief among the Arsenal coaching staff that Mavropanos is ready to play in the first team and is in contention to be involved in senior games when he’s fully match fit.
That should ease the burden on Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny following the season-ending knee injury picked up by Rob Holding in December.