Arsenal have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of Schalke’s star Leon Goretzka after the German international has apparently decided to sign for Barcelona.

The Bundesliga star has been severally reported as Arsenal’s top priority signing to replace contract rebel Mesut Ozil, whose current deal at the Emirates runs out at the end of the season.

His comptriot is also running into the last six months of his contract with Schalke and he will be able to discuss potential moves in the summer, meaning the 22-year-old would leave the Bundesliga giants for nothing.

They report that Goretzka has already started talks with the Catalan club preparing for his move in the summer.

According to reports, Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus and Bayern Munich have all shown interest in Goretzka, but his club have refused to give up hope of keeping him at the club and have tabled a number of improved contracts.

However, the Daily Mirror now claims that he has made his mind up and wants to sign for Barcelona when his current deal expires.

Should this deal go ahead, it has the potential to upset both Arsenal and Mesut Ozil, with Barcelona one of Ozil’s favoured destinations. It is highly unlikely that Barcelona would want to sign two very similar players at the same time.

The proposed deal could also have major ramifications for Liverpool – also in the running for Gortezka – who may be able to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho, should Barcelona look elsewhere for deals.

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