Arsenal are planning a shock January transfer window swoop for Barcelona forward David Villa to help with their goal tally.
The Spain forward has fallen out of favour at Camp Nou and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has discussed making an offer with his backroom staff, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The Emirates Stadium club have been inconsistent in front of goal this season and the 31-year-old would bring world class goalscoring pedigree to a front line that really only has Olivier Giroud as a natural centre-forward.
Theo Walcott has consistently said he wants to play centrally in attack, doing so to good effect in the win over Reading, but he lacks experience in that role and Villa is a top class operator.
The Spain international has struggled to get back into the first XI regularly since returning from a nine-month absence after breaking his leg.
Villa was a favourite under Pep Guardiola but his successor, Tito Vilanova, has favoured others names in his attacking trio.
Barcelona were rocked by the recent news that Vilanova had to undergo surgery on his cancerous parotid gland, less than a year after having a tumour removed from his throat.
The Camp Nou boss now faces six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but will remain in his job.
The report linking Arsenal with Villa suggest the Catalan club’s hierarchy are prepared to cash in on the striker if he asks for a move through frustration at a lack of first team football.
It also claims Wenger would prefer to take the World Cup winner on loan for the rest of this season, with a view to making it permanent.
Should Villa move to Arsenal, he would the second Spain international at the club alongside Santi Cazorla.