Arsenal have joined the race for Miralem Pjanic and are in talks to land the wantaway Barcelona midfielder on a temporary basis, according to reports in Spain.
Pjanic completed a high-profile switch from Juventus to Barca in June 2020 – a move which saw Arthur Melo head in the opposite direction – but the 31-year-old has failed to live up to expectations and badly struggled for regular playing time at the Camp Nou.
And while the La Liga giants are due to begin pre-season training imminently, Pjanic has made it clear he has no intention of returning to play a bit-part role under Ronald Koeman next term.
Pjanic has held intensive discussions with Barcelona with a view to finding a solution which suits all parties and ‘everything indicates’ the Bosnia and Herzegovina international will leave the club on loan, according to Catalan publication Sport.
Chelsea and Tottenham have both registered a strong interest in signing Pjanic on a temporary basis and the report suggests Arsenal have entered the running ‘in the last few hours’.
It’s claimed the Gunners have already begun preliminary discussions to lure the former Lyon and Roma man to north London, with Mikel Arteta on the hunt for midfield reinforcements ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Arteta had hoped to seal a second loan spell for Martin Odegaard but the Norwegian will be staying with Real Madrid for the forthcoming season and Arsenal have been forced to scour the market for alternatives.
Current midfield options Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira are all being linked with permanent moves away from the Emirates and Matteo Guendouzi sealed a loan switch to Marseille earlier this week.
Pjanic’s preference would be to rejoin Juve on loan but newly-appointed Massimiliano Allegri – who has returned for a second managerial spell in Turin – would first have to free up space in his midfield ranks before contemplating a reunion with his former player.
Arsenal are in a financial position to be able to satisfy Pjanic’s wage demands but will only push further to wrap up a temporary agreement if the loan itself is free.
Barca are keen to remove the out-of-favour playmaker from the wage bill and Arsenal are confident they have a realistic chance of securing the Bosnian’s signature over the coming weeks.
A frustrated Pjanic refused to rule out a move away from Barcelona when asked about the speculation surrounding his future last month.
‘Leaving Barcelona? It’s hard to talk about that now,’ he told Bosnian outlet Federalna TV.
‘I’m spending the holidays with my family and that’s all I’m thinking about at the moment.
‘The preparations for the new season start in July and then I’ll join the team. We’ll see what happens later.’
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