Barcelona Transfer News: Nolito Deal 'Close' Amid Arsenal Interest, Top Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2016

Celta Vigo's forward Nolito celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match RC Celta de Vigo vs Real Sporting de Gijon at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on November 28, 2015.   Celta won the match 2-1. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP / MIGUEL RIOPA        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Celta Vigo forward Nolito is reportedly "close" to returning to Barcelona on loan with a view to buy this summer despite ongoing interest from Arsenal. Meanwhile, the Catalan giants are alleged to have agreed a six-year deal with Schalke winger Leroy Sane.

Catalan newspaper Sport sourced a report from Spanish television programme Efectivament that claimed negotiations have progressed this week, but the Gunners have also tabled an offer of their own.

Nolito is reportedly closing in on a return to Barcelona.
Nolito is reportedly closing in on a return to Barcelona.MIGUEL RIOPA/Getty Images

It's stated that Barca youngsters Sandro Ramirez, 20, and Munir El Haddadi, 20, could play a part in the transfer, with either or both of the attacking prodigies potentially moving to Celta in some capacity.

Spanish daily AS cited Mundo Deportivo and added that Barca are hopeful of sealing a loan deal for Nolito with an obligation to buy at a later date, but Arsenal are willing to stump up a fee in January.

That's according to the Independent's Samuel Stevens, who reported Arsene Wenger's side are ready to offer £13.4 million for the Celta Vigo talisman, who has eight goals and five assists in 15 La Liga games this season.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague painted a different picture, however, after insisting the Premier League giants have no intention of competing for the 29-year-old:

Nolito made just five appearances for Barcelona's first team in the three years he spent at the Camp Nou between 2008 and 2011, where he worked with incumbent manager Luis Enrique in Barcelona's B team.

Per football journalist Rik Sharma, the Spain winger recently spoke fondly of his former Barca mentor, intensifying speculation the pair could be reunited in Catalonia this year:

Meanwhile, a summer deal has allegedly been struck to sign Schalke sensation Sane after French newspaper L'Equipe reported Barca were "happy" to meet his €37 million (£27.8 million) release clause (h/t Metro's Lee Thomas-Mason).

According to the report, the 20-year-old will pen a six-year deal with Barcelona this summer, and James Robson of the Manchester Evening News pointed out that bookmakers have reacted in the wake of that news:

Sane has been tipped for big things after scoring five goals and crafting five assists in 24 outings for the Miners this season and earning his first senior Germany cap against France in November 2015.

The Blaugrana have captured a star in the making should news of a contract agreement prove to be true, with Barca not wasting any time in their recruitment after seeing a 2015 transfer embargo come to its end.

Barcelona have a buy-back clause in Suarez's Villarreal contract.
Barcelona have a buy-back clause in Suarez's Villarreal contract.Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Another young figure who could arrive at the end of this season is Denis Suarez, another former Barcelona B prospect, and Enrique reportedly called to inform him of the club's pursuit, per Sport's Lluis Miguelsanz.

The 22-year-old has been in thriving form for Villarreal this term and boasts a record of three goals and three assists in 11 starts, with Barca looking to activate the buy-back clause in his Villarreal contract.