Barcelona Transfer News: Mesut Ozil in Arda Turan Swap Rumours, Willian Targeted

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town at Emirates Stadium on November 28, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona will reportedly offer Arda Turan to Arsenal in a bid to convince the Gunners to part ways with Mesut Ozil this winter. Meanwhile, Chelsea's Willian is understood to be the Catalan club's alternative to Liverpool ace Philippe Coutinho.

Ozil will be available on a free transfer in the summer when his contract expires, but David Woods of the Daily Star reported Turan will be used as a potential makeweight to force through a deal in January.

It's said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is seeking a reunion with his former Real Madrid charge and is hopeful of securing a free transfer in June, although Barca could agree a pre-contract with the player in the new year.

Woods wrote that Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has told Turan he can leave the club, and Spanish newspaper Marca recently illustrated just how big a failure the Turkey international has been in Catalonia:

Marca's Jordi Gil detailed how Turan is also the only senior Barcelona player to not play a minute of football this season, providing quotes from Valverde, who addressed speculation the midfielder has feigned injuries of late:

"I am the coach and I trust the players and the medical team we have here. 

"If there's a problem, we look at it. If [Arda] has an ankle problem, he has an ankle problem. I don't question a player's injury. And from there, with the players I have available, I pick my team."  

Turan was signed by Barca in the summer of 2015 but was prevented from registering with the club until their transfer ban at the time expired in January 2016. He's since gone on to score 15 goals in 55 appearances for the club but has never quite hit the heights he reached in his four years at Atletico Madrid.

According to Woods, Ozil is valued at £30 million, and while that figure could be reduced with Turan moving in the opposite direction, it isn't likely to be sufficient enough to convince the Gunners to part ways with their playmaker before his contract expiration.

Elsewhere, Barca are said to be targeting Chelsea winger Willian as their back-up option should they fail to land Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window.

The Blaugrana were linked with Coutinho throughout the summer and are still touted as suitors for the Brazilian, but Italian website Calciomercato.com reported compatriot Willian is viewed as an alternative.

Willian has been in and out of manager Antonio Conte's lineup this season, starting in seven of his 14 Premier League appearances, but Goal's Nizaar Kinsella recently suggested the South American deserves a place in his XI:

News of interest in Willian emerged on the same day Albert Masnou of Catalan daily Sport reported Barca are aware they may need to pay up to €150 million (£132 million) in order to bring Coutinho to the Camp Nou this winter.

Willian would be a far simpler transfer to pull off in comparison, and ESPN FC's Liam Twomey recently provided quotes from Conte defending his diminished use of the player this season:

While Coutinho has operated largely on the left flank and in a more central role for Liverpool since arriving in 2013, Willian is a right-wing specialist and therefore wouldn't be a like-for-like alternative.

But with summer signing Ousmane Dembele still sidelined due to a knee injury and fresh reinforcements needed, Barca could opt for Willian as he looks to rejuvenate his campaign.    

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