Barcelona have turned their attentions fully towards Valencia's Rodrigo this January window, opening the door for Paris Saint-Germain to swoop in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Luis Suarez was ruled out for four months with a knee injury earlier this month, prompting La Blaugrana to scour the continent for a forward to replace the missing Uruguayan.
One of the leading contenders to fill in for the 33-year-old striker has been Arsenal's Gabon international. Rumours have surfaced over the last few weeks suggesting that Aubameyang would be interested in moving to Camp Nou, and that Barça saw him as the perfect fit given he is an out-and-out striker.
The latest developments suggest otherwise, however. Sport claim Quique Setien's side will go 'all out' to sign Rodrigo on loan this month, dropping their interest in the Gunners' top scorer.
This is a move that makes significantly more sense, with the club's long-term target Lautaro Martinez heavily linked as being Suarez's permanent replacement in the summer, therefore acquiring Rodrigo as a stop-gap won't have any adverse effect on those plans. Should they sign Aubameyang, eight years older than Martinez, Arsenal would also command a hefty fee for a player who won't boast the same longevity as the Inter frontman.
Barça want to sign Rodrigo on loan and are ready to pay his wages as well as a fee to Valencia in a deal that would include an option to buy in the summer. Rodrigo came on as a substitute in Valencia's 2-0 win over Setien's men on Saturday. Sport do add that Olivier Giroud is still an option, although the Spaniard is the priority.
While the news may look good for Mikel Arteta, reports out of France suggest otherwise. Foot Mercato have claimed that Barça dropping their interest has coincided with PSG stepping up theirs.
The Ligue 1 side's hierarchy have contacted Aubameyang's entourage to discuss a loan with an option to buy, with it added that the striker is still interested in the club's project. It is interest that has been long-standing, with the French publication stating that Aubameyang got in touch with Thomas Tuchel when he took charge in 2018 to discuss moving to Paris.
PSG are keen to find a replacement for the impending departure of Edinson Cavani, but it would require a colossal fee for them to lure last season's joint-Premier League Golden Boot winner from the Gunners in mid-season, particularly given the club's current plight.
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