Barcelona have rejected a cash-plus-player offer by Arsenal for full-back Emerson Royal in a move that would have seen Hector Bellerin re-join the Catalan club, according to reports. The news will come as a boost for Tottenham, who are also interested in the Brazilian.
Royal is the subject of strong interest from the north London rivals. Both sides see right-back as a position that needs strengthening.
Arsenal have started the season with Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares sharing the role, while Japhet Tanganga has impressed there during Spurs’ successful start to the season.
Arteta’s side are yet to win and their defensive performances have been woeful, prompting a move for a new defender.
Spanish outlet RAC1 have claimed that Arsenal made an £8.5m offer for Royal in a bid which would also see Bellerin return to Barca 10 years after leaving their la Masia academy.
Bellerin has fallen out of favour under Arteta and has not started any of their three Premier League games so far. Successive serious injuries have halted the 26-year-old’s development in recent years and several reports have suggested that the player wants a fresh start elsewhere.
However, that bid has been rejected by the LaLiga side, who instead want at least £17m for Royal.
The 22-year-old defender has spent the last two seasons on loan at Real Betis. He impressed under Manuel Pellegrini and returned to feature in Barca’s first team this season.
Barca are apparently only keen to sell Royal to balance their huge debt. The club have suffered notable financial issues, which contributed to legendary forward Lionel Messi not being able to re-sign after his contract expired at the end of June.
The rejected bid will be good news for Spurs. The Premier League leaders are believed to have made a £25m offer for Royal and Sky Sports have claimed that the player prefers a move to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo has been keen to sign a new right-back, despite Tanganga’s impressive start to the season.
Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier has fallen out of favour and made clear at the end of last term that he favoured a departure.
Matt Doherty has been unconvincing since joining from Wolves last summer.
Signing Royal would be Spurs’ latest success over Arsenal. They defeated the Gunners in a pre-season fixture and have started the season in completely contrasting form.
Nuno’s side have won their first three fixtures 1-0, while Arsenal lost all three and are yet to score. Arteta’s side sit bottom of the top-flight with a goal difference of minus nine.
Spurs are top heading into the international break and have managed to keep hold of star forward Harry Kane. They have also made some impressive additions to their squad.
Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and defender Cristian Romero have both been signed on loan from Atalanta. Winger Bryan Gil has arrived in a £25m permanent deal, which saw long-serving midfielder Erik Lamela head in the opposite direction to Sevilla.
Nuno has also captured midfielder Pape Matar Sarr from Metz but the 18-year-old will head back to the Ligue 1 club on loan for the remainder of the season.
Arsenal boss Arteta’s latest humiliation was Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City. Afterwards, the Spaniard thanked the fans for their support throughout the frustrating period and insisted he is the man to turn the club’s form around.
“To the fans all I can say is thank you so much. We have 3,000 fans here, they were absolutely fantastic and in condition with the team throughout the game,” he told reporters after the game.
“That’s why you saw the reaction after the game. All the players and myself, we have to do that and say thank you, because this doesn’t happen very often in football and we have to value what they’ve done today.”
Asked if he was the man to turn Arsenal’s form around, Arteta replied: “Yes I do. If not I wouldn’t be sitting here.”