Arsenal target Joao Cancelo is set to join Barcelona in the near future.

Journalist Fabrizio Romano has stated that Joao Cancelo is on the verge of sealing a move to La Liga giants Barcelona. The move will be an initial loan deal, with an option to buy included, and the Italian reporter included his famous ‘here we go’ statement, indicating that the deal is as good as done.

Barcelona will have the option to sign Cancelo permanently for £21.5 million next summer, according to Sky Sports.

Arsenal have been credited with interest in Cancelo throughout the summer, including by Spanish publication Sport. Mikel Arteta must now accept that he won’t be able to tempt the defender to the Emirates Stadium.

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Even if Cancelo had wanted to join Arsenal, it is doubtful that Manchester City would have sanctioned such a move. The reigning Premier League champions will be reluctant to strengthen the Gunners, who proved to be their closest challengers last season.

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Arsenal must explore other options with Cancelo off the market

Cancelo would have been a brilliant addition to Arteta’s squad, not least due to Jurrien Timber’s recent ACL injury which will rule out the Dutchman for the majority of the campaign.

It is easy to see why Arsenal identified Cancelo as a suitable transfer target this summer. The 29-year-old full-back has the capacity to play the inverted interpretation of his position that Arteta favours. The 44-cap Portugal international is a creative force, attack-minded, and has the ability to drift in to the midfield zone, as Oleksandr Zinchenko does.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal will seek to add to their defensive contingent in what remains of the transfer window. Timber’s injury, and the loan departure of Kieran Tierney, has left Arsenal’s defensive cohort unbalanced. With Cancelo off the table, Arteta may well opt to pursue an alternative target.

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