Arsenal will have a major battle on their hands to try and sign Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan as Spanish champions Barcelona are keen to lure the highly-rated midfielder to the Camp Nou in January.
The Germany international gained global recognition for his performances in the Champions League as Dortmund reached the final, though he had first rose to prominence in the previous season as he helped the club win a second successive Bundesliga title.
Gundogan's displays for the German side have led to increased speculation that there could be offers from several European sides when the transfer window opens in January.
Now it seems Arsenal and Barcelona are the two sides retaining an interest in the 23-year-old, with the Express reporting that Gundogan's failure to sign a new deal has led the two clubs to believe he is ready to leave Dortmund.
Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta recently travelled to Germany, with reports suggesting he is using the trip to scout Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and Gundogan.
The table topping Spanish side have a new manager in Gerardo Martino who will be looking to bring in some of his own players and it seems Gundogan has been earmarked as a potential replacement for Xavi.
Barcelona still see the 33-year-old having a future at the club but are acutely aware that they will need to plan for the future.
Earlier this month Barcelona's great rivals Real Madrid were linked with a £25m bid for the Dortmund midfielder and it is believed that a bidding war could begin in January with the fee possible raising even higher.
While the two La Liga giants will be confident of persuading Gundogan to come to Spain, it appears he may well have options in England as Arsenal are keen to pair him alongside his international colleague Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have hugely profited from the arrival of the former Real Madrid midfielder and manager Arsene Wenger may well be prepared to spend heavily again in January as the club look to finally end their long barren run without a trophy.
The Gunners have a large German contingent and Wenger may well hope that the likes of Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski can convince their fellow countryman to make the move to the Emirates.
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