While the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil continue to hang in the balance, Arsenal appear to have received a sizable boost in their hopes of retaining Hector Bellerin after reports suggested that Barcelona have now ended their high-profile pursuit of the La Masia graduate.
Catalan daily Sport understands that the decision to stop chasing a summer deal for Bellerin was made during a meeting attended by new manager Ernesto Valverde, sporting director Pep Segura, technical secretary Robert Fernandez and Urbano Ortega. In addition to purportedly not being worth the €40m (£35.5m, $45.8m) valuation, it is said that they also decided the player did not meet certain physical and technical requirements.
Bellerin has long been linked with a return to the club with whom he spent his formative years before moving to Arsenal as a teenager back in 2011, with the pacy 22-year-old previously among Valverde's top targets as he seeks to secure the addition of a new right-back to act as a long-term successor to Dani Alves.
Midfielder Sergi Roberto established himself as the Blaugrana's first-choice option in that position during Luis Enrique's final campaign at the helm and it was reported earlier this month that Barcelona had rejected a €35m offer for his services as they continued to pursue Bellerin.
Nelson Semedo, Joan Cancelo, Cedric Soares and Alvaro Odriozola have all been suggested as possible alternatives to Bellerin, although it could be that Chelsea's 'Mr Dependable' Cesar Azpilicueta best fits the bill.
Marca suggest that the versatile Spaniard was first considered back in May, when it was claimed that Barcelona received "positive feedback" from his representatives. The same publication report that the La Liga giants are prepared to turn back to Azpilicueta with a move for Bellerin now seemingly out of the question and Chelsea having recently acquired Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma.
Barcelona have yet to make much of a splash in this summer's transfer market, with young defender Marlon Santos signing a permanent three-year contract after a successful loan and the club also exercising their option to re-sign Gerard Deulofeu from Everton.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti remains their chief target, with Valverde said to be willing to wait until the end of the window if necessary in order to get his man. Barca are also hoping to conclude a deal for former Tottenham Hotspur flop Paulinho before the Chinese transfer window closes on Friday (14 July), although current employers Guangzhou Evergrande remain adamant that they will not allow the Brazilian international to depart mid-season.