Arsenal held negotiations with 21-year-old Spanish playmaker

The London giants “seriously tried to sign Riqui Puig” from Barcelona in winter on loan with an option to buy. Ex-AC Milan footballer Daniele Massaro, who apparently knows about such things, dubbed U21 Spain international “the new Iniesta”.

Riqui, who has started three times for the Blaugrana this campaign, has also been linked with a loan move to Leeds, but it was the Spanish manager’s side that came close to sealing a deal last month.

“Let’s go back to the Premier League and let’s reveal the behind the scenes of the past transfer window between two clubs, one in Barcelona and one is Arsenal.” Fabrizio Romano’s co-host said.

“At the start of the window Arsenal were seriously trying to sign Riqui Puig on loan with a buy option, in a similar deal as Odegaard, also with Riqui Puig at Barcelona,” Romano said.

“Barcelona said let’s see with Koeman if he wants to keep the player if he wants to play, let’s wait some weeks. Then in the middle of January, they said no, Riqui Puig is not moving, we are keeping him.”

Arsenal have sent scouts to watch the 21-year-old playmaker recently and could look at him as a cheaper alternative to the likes of Houssem Aouar and Julian Brandt, who they have also been linked with.

The Spanish attacker hasn’t been selected to start a single match under Ronald Koeman this season, with the Barca manager not impressed by the midfielder’s work-rate in training, the report states.