Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar is locked in talks with the agent of Hector Bellerin, sources have told CBS Sports on Thursday, as they battle to break the impasse over the Spaniard's transfer away from north London.
Bellerin, 26, is wanted by Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid and would be keen to join two clubs who could offer him the Champions League football that Arsenal cannot. However, the two clubs have so far indicated that they can only afford to loan the right back as they battle to improve their financial situation.
Arsenal, however, want to sell their vice captain and at the very least would want any loan agreement to come with a commitment to purchase the player next summer, when he will have just 12 months remaining on his contract. The Gunners are looking for a fee of around $23.8 million (€20 million) from any interested parties.
That would be a sizeable price for either suitor to reach. Inter Milan were forced to sell Achraf Hakimi, whom Bellerin would replace, to Paris Saint Germain for $70 million (€60 million) to ease the financial pressure at the San Siro. Meanwhile, Atleti's move would be contingent on Kieran Trippier -- who is wanted by Manchester United -- returning to the Premier League.
CBS Sports first revealed Bellerin's readiness to leave Arsenal in February with the right back, who joined the club's Hale End academy a decade ago, having come to the belief that he will struggle to compete for major honors in his prime years if he stays put. A year ago, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta convinced his compatriot to remain at the club, but this time there is agreement from all parties that the time is right to part ways.
American international Tyler Adams is on the list of options for Arsenal to replace Bellerin, though Arteta has also been impressed with reserves Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares, both of whom are competing for a starting spot on the opening day of the season against Brentford. The Gunners are also working to strengthen their squad in goal, central midfield and with a new playmaker whilst clearing out a sizeable chunk of those already at their disposal.
Talks with Roma over the sale of Granit Xhaka have stalled while no offers have so far emerged for academy trio Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson. All three have Premier League admirers.