Bengaluru, December 31: Spanish giants FC Barcelona have reportedly reached out to Villarreal regarding a potential deal for midfielder Pablo Fornals who is also an Arsenal target for quite some time now.
The La Liga holders are flying high at the top of La Liga over the winter break having moved three points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid.
And, with Champions League and Copa del Rey fixtures to come, a treble is not out of the question for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
The Blaugrana will not rest on their laurels though with domestic and foreign rivals perennially looking to topple them.
According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, Barcelona recently sent a club personnel to get "in touch" with Villarreal. And the subject of their enquiry was Fornals, with the attacking midfielder also contacted about a possible transfer.
The 22-year-old has opened up about his unwillingness to leave Villarreal even though they remain in the La Liga drop zone.
"I cannot leave my team lying, much less now," Fornals said, when asked about his future.
However, Villarreal will be powerless to prevent him from moving if Barcelona activate the £23.4m (€26m) release clause in his contract.
The relatively modest price tag on the head of a player with potential as much as Fornals means he’s a wanted man.
And Unai Emery also is reported to have set his sights on his Spanish compatriot as he wants to rebuild his Arsenal squad.
Arsenal welcomed five new faces to the Emirates during the summer after Emery replaced Arsene Wenger. And he could fight Barcelona for Fornals’ signature after the 2018/19 campaign draws to close in May.
Barcelona might have to fend off Arsenal’s Premier League rivals West Ham as well, with Manuel Pellegrini a keen admirer of Fornals.
Bayern Munich, too, are said to have "shown interest" in the former Malaga playmaker.
Fornals is unlikely to be short of more suitors as he continues to impress, even as Villarreal stare relegation in the face.