Barca cool Coutinho pursuit by already striking January deal for Arsenal target

Barcelona are reportedly planning to seal the January transfer of Nice midfielder and Arsenal target Jean Seri as they cool their interest in Liverpool‘s Philippe Coutinho.

The Ivory Coast international has shone in Ligue 1 to attract links with a number of bigger clubs in recent times, with Arsenal seemingly one of his main suitors over the summer.

However, a deal never came to fruition and Barcelona now seem to be stepping up their interest after failure to land their other top midfield targets.

The Catalan giants are said to have already agreed a £36million fee with Nice for Seri, who was also ready to make the move to the Nou Camp in the summer, meaning things can be finalised quickly.

However, Barca preferred not to rush ahead with the deal as they felt they could still conclude late moves for Coutinho or Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria.

Those look to be off the table for the time being, with Sport claiming Barcelona will now prioritise Seri for January ahead of possibly reviving moves for Coutinho or Di Maria next summer.

Liverpool will be pleased to avoid another Coutinho saga over the winter, though recent reports suggested they were preparing to let the Brazil international go after next year’s World Cup.

Arsenal’s inaction over Seri, meanwhile, comes as something of a surprise given his relatively cheap asking price in this market, and given their lack of quality options in central midfield just now.

Seri, 26, can play a box-to-box role or add creativity in a more advanced position, which would make him a strong candidate to replace contract rebel Mesut Ozil if he does not end up renewing with the Gunners.

However, it now looks increasingly likely that Barcelona are the overwhelming favourites to land the Nice star in the near future.