Arsenal are planning a move for Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry. The Sun believes the Etihad club could be willing to release the 32-year-old and free up £100,000 per week in wages.
The Gunners are not expected to offer a similar financial package or even guarantee a starting spot. However, inside sources claim a modified two-year contract could interest Barry, who has been told by manager Manuel Pellegrini that he is not central to his plans.
"It looks like Arsenal are just weighing things up at the moment and they do have other priorities. But they know Gareth would do a good job for them," the source explained.
Arsene Wenger is believed to be in the market for a new holding midfielder and has had a bid rejected for Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender. German publications have reported a club record €23m deal was turned down by the Bundesliga club.
The Gunners have also been linked to Everton's Marouane Fellaini but there is speculation over Wenger's willingness to trigger a £24m release clause. Former Arsenal player Stewart Robson has thrown his weight behind the Belgian international, preferring him to any other player linked to the role.
Should neither of their first choice options come through, Barry may prove to be a reasonable utility buy, offering considerable experience in shielding the back four. The Sun believes a £3.5m bid could be enough to persuade City to part with the player, particularly since they have signed Brazil midfielder Fernandinho for roughly £30m.
Meanwhile, there is also speculation Barry could return to former club Aston Villa. Paul Lambert is understood to want the midfielder as cover and mentor to his young squad. The Mirror has also linked Stoke City, West Ham United and Cardiff City to the England midfielder.
Interestingly, Tottenham have also been linked to Barry, according to The Sun. however, it is unlikely Andre Villas-Boas is looking at the midfielder as anything more than cover for his first team; Brazilian international Sandro is still recovering from a serious knee injury, leaving only Barry's compatriot, Scott Parker, and perhaps Belgian Moussa Dembele, as midfield enforcers at the club.
AVB will have another Brazilian, Paulinho, at his disposal for the new season but his reported chase of Barry may be an indication he still feels unsure about that position.