Arsenal are keen on meeting Celta Vigo star Nolito's €18m (£12.6m) release clause during the January transfer window, according to AS. The Spanish publication adds that Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has asked his board to bolster the club's attack by signing the 29-year-old forward, but his request is likely to be turned down due to Barcelona's financial situation.
Nolito has been heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp since the summer, when Pedro Rodriguez's departure to Chelsea left them short upfront. Barcelona could not secure the player's signature then due to a transfer ban, but they were expected to renew their interest in January.
The move has come under question in recent weeks though, both due to the economic situation of the Catalan giants and Arsenal's eagerness to sign him. In October, The Mirror revealed that Arsene Wenger was formulating a bid after failing to sign a single outfield player during the summer mercato.
Nolito's impressive start to the season – with seven goals and four assists in 11 La Liga games, combined with injuries of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey – have increased the links in recent weeks. Mundo Deportivo recently reported that the Gunners could triple the player's wages to convince him to move to North London.
AS now believes Arsenal could take advantage of the Catalan giants' economic situation, adding that they would meet the release clause "with pleasure", while Barca would consider the fee excessive.
AS says there is a "fight" between Luis Enrique and his board, with the manager asking them to go ahead with the signing, while officials want him to consider Financial Fair Play and the club's economic situation.
The board are believed to have offered the manager cheaper alternatives to change his mind, such as Robin van Persie, Dirk Kuyt and Paris Saint-Germain star Ezequiel Lavezzi.
One way or another it looks as though Nolito's days at Celta are numbered, after the club's sporting director Miguel Torreceilla welcomed any club to meet his release clause during the January transfer window, after they bought him from Benfica two years ago for just €2.5m.