Arsenal are understood to have already opened negotiations with Espanyol regarding a deal for midfielder Marc Roca during the next transfer window.
The Gunners are expected to lose the services of Daniel Ceballos once his loan contract from Real Madrid concludes this season and it is claimed that he could prefer a return to Real Betis, suppose he is not assured regular playing time at the Bernabeu.
In this case, Mikel Arteta’s side are bound to recruit another midfielder and Spanish publication Sport reports that the club have earmarked Espanyol’s Roca as the prime candidate to replace Ceballos.
It is added that the club have already initiated talks with the La Liga outfit for the midfielder but the negotiation progress has been held due to the ongoing crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Roca’s contract currently has a £35.3m (€40m) release clause but it is suggested that the Gunners could get him for a lesser fee, should Espanyol, who are struggling at the bottom of La Liga, get relegated.
Based on the report, Roca was obviously on the club’s radar during the 2019 summer transfer window but they eventually decided to land the signature of Ceballos on a season-long loan.
Still, the club have continued to maintain their interest in the 23-year-old midfielder, who has similar attributes to Granit Xhaka with his strong passing abilities with his left foot and tendency to favour long balls, as per whoscored.
Defensively, he has fared better than Xhaka with 2.4 tackles compared to the Swiss’ 1.7 per 90 minutes in the league games. Still, Roca’s arrival could possibly see him play in tandem with Xhaka, considering the latter has emerged as an undisputed starter under Arteta.