Aleksandr Golovin
Aleksandr Golovin was already heavily linked with Arsenal in the summer. Getty

Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez is understood to have been in attendance during Basel's 2-1 defeat to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night (31 October) as the Catalan chief continue looking for alternatives to Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.

Marca says that Fernandez travelled to Switzerland to run the rule over CSKA starlet Aleksandr Golovin but the club chief also took advantake of the visit to keep an eye on Basel centre-back Manuel Akanji.

The Russian international midfielder is only 21-year-old but the Spanish publication describes him as the "biggest hope" for the hosts ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

Marca say that Arsenal are also closely monitoring his development and the report predicts that it is only a matter of time befor the talented midfielder leaves his current side.

Interest from the Gunners it not new at all as during the summer transfer window reports in his homeland claimed that the midfielder came close to joining Arsenal in a deal worth £10m (€11.4m, $13.2m).

Marca believe Coutinho remains Barcelona's top priority for the January transfer window but the Catalans are also looking for more affordable alternatives due to the difficulty in signing the Liverpool star.

The Catalans were forced to abandon the pursuit of the Brazilian ace in the summer after Liverpool asked them to pay around €200m.

Marca says that Barcelona are thus scouting several players around Europe with hopes to find new bargain ahead of the complicated January market.

In this sense, the Spanish publications points out that the plan is to replicate the cases of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen or Samuel Umtiti who have proven to be a hit at the Nou Camp after being recruited for only €12m and €25m respectively.

Marca adds that Nelson Semedo is following the same footsteps after he joined Barcelona from Benfica in the summer after being identified him as the cheaper alternative to Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin.

In recent weeks technical secretary Fernandez has been spotted on different scouting trips around Europe watching other potential targets including Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka, Leipzig striker Timo Werner and his teammate Dayot Upamecano.

Golovin is the latest name added to Barcelona's radar and he is unlikely to be the last between now and the opening of the January transfer window.

Marca understand that Fernandez is also expected to travel to France on Thursday to watch Lyon star Nabil Fekir in action during his side's encounter against Everton in the Europa League.