Arsenal shortlisted Joao Cancelo as a transfer target over the summer following his loan spell at Bayern Munich.
Arsenal may feel aggrieved to learn that they could have signed Joao Cancelo for under £25million if they were willing to acquire his services on loan from Manchester City initially. The Gunners were very keen on the fullback but ultimately decided to pursue alternative targets, with Jurrien Timber signed from Ajax instead.
Mikel Arteta’s side splashed the cash over the summer as they looked to add the star quality required to win the Premier League. Declan Rice, Timber and Kai Havertz arrived for significant fees, with David Raya also signed from Brentford on a loan-to-buy deal.
Though Arsenal may be frustrated to learn that they could have also acquired the services of Joao Cancelo if they were willing to enter negotiations with City. The Portugal international was put in the shop window at the Etihad Stadium after falling down the pecking order under Pep Guardiola, with Barcelona eventually sorting their finances so that they could strike a loan deal.
Joao Cancelo is impressing at Barcelona (Image: Getty)
According to the Daily Star, the Catalan giants have now reached an agreement with City to sign Cancelo permanently for a cut-price fee of £24.3m after his strong start to life in the La Liga – with two goals in six league appearances.
City had told interested clubs that they would only accept a bid in the region of £55m for the 29-year-old over the summer, but Barca striking an initial loan deal before discussing a permanent fee has afforded them the opportunity to negotiate a more suitable deal.
Joao Cancelo had worked with Arteta previously at City and Arsenal viewed him as a top-quality addition to their backline given that he has thrived playing as an inverted fullback previously. However, whether Guardiola would have approved of strengthening a direct rival remains unknown.
Arsenal have been forced to continue playing Ben White as a makeshift right-back following his successful campaign in the role last season. The England international was expected to slot into central defence alongside William Saliba after Timber arrived from the Eredivisie, but the Dutchman sustained an ACL injury during his side’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on the opening weekend of the season.
The defender was forced to undergo surgery on the issue and the Gunners opted not to bring in a direct replacement in the latter stages of the transfer window, despite there being the opportunity to sign Cancelo on loan. White has, instead, stepped up but the emergence of a fee being agreed for Cancelo may take the gloss off of his recent displays.