BARCELONA are plotting a summer move for Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to reports.
The Gabon international, 30, is out of contract at the end of next season so the Catalan giants are hoping they can take advantage to seal a deal.
According to the Sunday Express, Barca face competition from Inter Milan, though, for his signature.
Aubameyang is high on Barcelona’s wishlist as they desperately look to bolster their attacking options.
Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez are both currently out as they recover from surgery so the addition of Aubameyang would be a welcome boost to kick-start next season.
Barcelona have also been linked with Inter’s in-form striker Lautaro Martinez, who has a reported release clause of £94million.
So if Barca were able to land the Argentine, that could pave the way for Auba to join the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young and Christian Eriksen at Inter.
The report adds that the offer of Champions League football at the Nou Camp could be a major factor in getting a deal across the line.
Thursday’s defeat to Olympiacos saw Mikel Arteta’s side crash out of the Europa League – a back-door route into the Champions League – and now they must hope for a dramatic end to the season if they want to return to the top table in Europe.
Arsenal are naturally very keen to convince Aubameyang to stay at the Emirates and want him to sign a contract extension.
But the news of a £27m loss for the club for the 2018/19 season just after their European exit could cost them £60m will do the Gunners no favours in their hopes of securing their talisman’s services beyond next season.
This week, Aubameyang hit back at claims he will leave if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League.
He tweeted: “Why they talk about what they don’t know.”
Arteta knows just how important Aubameyang is to the club – he is the Premier League’s top scorer alongside Jamie Vardy this term.
The Arsenal boss said: “He’s our most important player. Stats wise there’s no question about the impact that he has on the team.
“So as much as i can and the club can we will try to convince him to stay with us.”
But former England midfielder Joe Cole encouraged the ex-Borussia Dortmund striker to move on at the end of the season.
Speaking on BT Sport, Cole said: “’If I’m Aubameyang I’d be looking out the door because he’s a player that needs to be playing at the very, very top level. He needs to be playing in the Champions League.
“He’s not played enough years in the Champions League to cement himself as a top, top player, which is what he actually is because his stats and his numbers add up with anyone.
“I think the process Arsenal have got to go through, they’ve got to go back to the days when they’re bringing players through, which they are, Saka, the left-back, I think is different class.”
But unsurprisingly Gunners legend Ian Wright is begging the captain to stay.
Wright said on Instagram: “We love you!!! This club loves you. Our fans love you. If you weren’t here with all due respect to the rest of our team we’d be in deep trouble.
“For you to score the amount of goals you are scoring whilst doing all that defending is just incredible!!! (Please stay and sign the ting).”