Arsenal have held talks with Philippe Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian over a move to the Emirates Stadium.
The Barcelona flop is available after a mixed loan spell at Bayern Munich failed to win over his critics at the Nou Camp.
Arsenal are among a number of Premier League clubs interested in bringing former Liverpool playmaker Coutinho back to these shores.
A limited transfer kitty will make a deal for Coutinho difficult, however, due to Barcelona’s wish to bring in a fee worth at least €80million (£73m).
Arsenal bigwigs could lower the cash sum by offering outcast Matteo Guendouzi as a makeweight.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been left out of Mikel Arteta’s squad for the last 10 fixtures after clashing with Neal Maupay in the defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion as concerns over his attitude came to light.
The swap deal appears to be a non-starter, however, with Mundo Deportivo reporting that Barcelona bosses have completely ruled out that proposed deal.
A loan involving a hefty fee appears to be the Catalan club’s preferred option if a permanent deal is impossible.
Joorabchian boasts a growing influence on Arsenal’s transfer policy and enjoys a good relationship with the club’s technical director, Edu, and head of football, Raul Sanllehi.
The representative has admitted Coutinho would be open to a Premier League return, with Leicester City and Newcastle United also interested.
“Because the Champions League runs until August 23, it’s going to be very difficult for players like Coutinho to make any commitments or moves before then,” Joorabchian told talkSPORT.
“For him to make a commitment is very difficult.
“We’ve not kept it a secret that he wants to come back to the Premier League if he can.
“He adores playing in the Premier League and I think it’s one of his priorities, but he’s also not against staying in Barcelona so it’s very open.
“There’s a lot of genuine interest because he’s a great player, so there’s always interest.”
He added: “I don’t envisage too many deals of that nature – 80 to 100 million. There will be a lot of 10 to 30 or 40 million.”
Arsenal’s main target for the summer transfer window is Atletico Madrid star midfielder Thomas Partey who has a €50m (£45m) release clause, which the Gunners are struggling to meet.