Arsenal director Edu is keen on bringing Barcelona starlet Ilias Akhomach to the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to reports. The Gunners have emerged as one of the Premier League's best-run clubs in terms of player recruitment over the last few years and it seems as though Edu could be about to pull off another masterclass by landing Akhomach without having to pay a transfer fee.
The 18-year-old has excelled at youth level for Barcelona this season and is also making a name for himself on the international scene with Spain after receiving a call-up to their under-19 squad earlier this month. Akhomach's performances for club and country have not gone unnoticed in recent months, with Arsenal now said to be planning a move for his signature when the campaign draws to a close.
That's according to Sport, who are reporting that Edu has already kickstarted talks with Akhomach's representatives over the possibility of making the switch to England later this year. The teenage winger will be out of contract at the end of the season and is thought to have decided against signing an extension to his current deal, which means that he will be leaving the Nou Camp for a new club in the summer.
However, it seems unlikely that Arsenal will be the only team in the hunt, with three other sides believed to be rivalling the Gunners in early discussions regarding Akhomach's immediate future. Leeds United are credited with having an 'advantage' over Arsenal as things stand, while Sevilla and AC Milan have also been keeping close tabs on the forward's progress over the last few months.
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Barcelona will also be looking to protect their own interests ahead of Akhomach's imminent departure by demanding a percentage of any future sale, although it remains unclear how the situation will play out as he nears the expiry of his contract in June.
Akhomach is regarded as one of the most promising talents to have emerged from Barcelona's esteemed La Masia academy in recent years and came through in the same age group as Gavi, who is now widely considered as the future of the club and Spanish football on the whole. There are said to be high hopes at the Nou Camp that the talented forward will eventually tread the same path, but he is so far refusing to entertain any offers from the Catalan giants to renew his deal.
Arsenal could emerge as an attractive destination for Akhomach given their success in helping the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and William Saliba to develop into hugely important first-team assets in recent years. They are still believed to be in the hunt for a new young winger after missing out on the signing of Mykhaylo Mudryk in January and it seems as though Akhomach might just be the right fit as a result of his playing characteristics and his sky-high ceiling for potential growth.
Akhomach, who joined Barcelona for a second time in 2017, has impressed scouts playing for the club's 'B' team in the Spanish third tier and made three first-team appearances for the Blaugrana last season after being given the chance to prove himself at senior level by Xavi. It remains to be seen where Akhomach will end up by the time the summer transfer window closes, although Arsenal will be desperately hoping that he chooses to move to north London in the face of the growing interest in his signature from elsewhere.
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