Spanish football journalist Guillem Balagué has dismissed reports that Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey has already had a medical with Juventus ahead of his rumoured summer switch, and claimed that Barcelona are forcing Gunners target Denis Suárez out of the club.
Ramsey is set to leave Arsenal after a decade in north London upon the expiry of his contract in June, and is widely believed to have chosen Serie A serial winners Juventus as his next destination. Suárez was believed to be Unai Emery's primary target to bring in on loan this month as a replacement for Ramsey, but Arsenal's interest cooled after Barcelona demanded an obligation to buy clause.
Discussing Ramsey's future, via the Daily Star, Balagué said: "That is a done deal. Everything has been sorted out there. There was talk of a medical I think it was now a couple of weeks ago in London, I’ve been told that’s rubbish. But everything is sorted for Ramsey to join Juventus in the summer.
"They didn’t really need to make much of a pitch to him, he’s seen how the club has really put itself back on the top, not only in Italy but in Europe over particularly the last four years when they’ve reached two Champions League finals."
With Ramsey's future apparently decided, Balagué turned his attentions to Suárez, and said: "Denis Suarez has said to Barcelona: ‘It’s either Arsenal, or I stay at Barcelona.’ So when that got to that moment, basically Arsenal are not willing right now to pay the €20m obligation to buy that Barcelona wants to put in the loan deal. Arsenal are not that fussed about it.
"'If it means that then we lose Denis Suarez, it’s not a problem.’ They just want him on loan right now. And Barcelona, hearing that Denis Suarez has said: ‘Well ok, I’m not going. I won’t go anywhere,’ decided in the morning of the Copa game against Sevilla to actually leave him out of the squad - and he didn’t expect that at all."
Balague went on to suggest that Barcelona would look to force Suárez out of the club, with Sevilla and Real Betis both interested in signing him this month for around €20m.
By the sounds of things, Suárez is pushing to play football at the highest level and wants to join a top side, rather than move down to a lesser team in La Liga. It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will remain stubborn in their refusal to meet Barcelona's demands, or whether the ticking transfer window clock will trigger them into some last minute business.
In other news, Arsenal have been buoyed by reports that key defensive duo Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis will return earlier than expected after they both suffered injuries during the FA Cup fourth round clash against Manchester United. The former is expected back within the next couple of games, while the latter should be out for no longer than three weeks.