Arsenal 'lead Barcelona' in transfer race as 'deal agreed' with European club

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All the latest news and transfer rumours surrounding Arsenal as preparations for the new season are stepped up.

Arsenal will now be stepping up their preparations for the new season, with signings expected to start arriving in the coming weeks. Mikel Arteta and Edu will be pushing to get deals over the line, but they must also agree outgoing deals, with a number of fringe players expected to leave the club.

The Gunners will need to raise money to balance the books, and we could well see a number of exits before the start of the new season. In the meantime, we have rounded up all the latest news surrounding the Emirates Stadium.

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Merino chase

Arsenal are said to be interested in a deal to sign Real Sociedad star Mikel Merino this summer. The midfielder previously had a spell with Newcastle United, struggling with homesickness, but he is no doubt better equipped at this stage given he has represented Spain regularly in recent times, while also regularly playing in Europe with La Real.

According to Sport, Arsenal are ahead of Barcelona in the race to sign Merino, who has been one of the standout midfielder in La Liga over the last two years. Though, while the 28-year-old is nearing the end of his contract, he is still going to cost more than £20million. That’s a bargain fee, but Arsenal will only have so much money to spend this summer as they bid to balance the books.

Merino has said of his future: "I leave those matters to my agent, I don't pay attention to rumors. My teammates ask me about it, but I don't dwell on it. Until there's something concrete, I won't be bothered. The rumours will stay as they are."

Tavares deal

Arsenal are said to have accepted an offer from Lazio for Nuno Tavares. The Portuguese defender recently said he was hoping to make an impression during pre-season after recent loan spells, but it looks as though he will not get that opportunity.

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According to the latest reports, Tavares will join Lazio on a loan deal with an obligation to buy, which will see Arsenal land a fee in the region of £6million at the end of next season. Tavares has struggled to impress during his time at Arsenal, and it became quickly clear Mikel Arteta did not trust him defensively.

Arsenal consider alternatives

Arsenal are reportedly considering attacking alternatives after missing out on Benjamin Sesko earlier this summer. Fabrizio Romano said in his Daily Briefing on CaughtOffside: “There has been some suggestion that Arsenal will no longer necessarily be making a striker a top priority target after missing out on Benjamin Sesko, but I’d keep this situation open,” Romano said.

“No decision has been made yet, it will also depend on the opportunities. Sesko was an opportunity, but then he decided to stay at Leipzig. Let’s see how Arsenal decide to move on the market in the next days and weeks. There are other big names up front that we’ve heard a lot about this summer, but at the moment there is still nothing close or concrete for Victor Osimhen or Viktor Gyokeres.”

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