Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to join Barcelona on a permanent deal, according to ESPN.
The Gabon international has been deemed surplus to requirements by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, and he now appears set to be released on a free transfer.
The Gunners were initially open to loaning him out for the campaign with the Blaugrana agreeing to pay a significant part of his £350,000-a-week wages.
However, the Catalan giants can’t afford to do so amid their restricted La Liga wage cap, and have now decided to sign him on a free transfer from the Gunners.
Aubameyang has another 17 months remaining on his current contract, but he is now expected to leave the club without any compensation, thus saving funds.
It is likely that he will accept a massive pay-cut to join the Blaugrana on a permanent basis.
Aubameyang was always likely to leave the club after being axed from the winter training camp in Dubai.
It was predicted that it could be a short-term loan deal, but the decision to terminate his contract has certainly come out of the blue.
The news will surely surprise many fans, but the hierarchy have probably made the right decision as he is completely out-of-favour.
The Gunners will save up to £25.5 million in wages from his early departure. The funds could be used to pursue a quality young marksman.
Arteta would ideally prefer a late signing to replace Aubameyang, but the board appear unlikely to recruit any one at the current point.
Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak and Espanyol’s Raul de Tomas are on their radar, but they will need to trigger release clauses for both.
Isak is the prime transfer target, but he will cost a hefty £75 million. He could be prised away for less during this summer’s transfer window.
It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will make a late raid to sign him before tonight’s 11 pm deadline.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com