Arsenal are keeping close tabs on Barcelona forward Munir El-Haddadi, who earned rave reviews for his impressive display against Elche on Sunday night. The 18-year-old, making his senior debut for the Catalan giants, scored an excellent goal and is now being considered as a potential short-term replacement for the injured Olivier Giroud by Arsene Wenger.
This is according to the Express, who claim that Wenger has been watching the Spain Under-19 international for some time now. European giants Bayern Munich and French champions Paris Saint-Germain are also believed to be keen.
Who is Munir?
Few outside of Barcelona will have been familiar with Munir prior to this weekend. A product of Barca’s famed La Masia academy, the Spaniard - who is eligible to play for Morocco - attracted interest from both Real Madrid and Manchester City several years ago.
The forward, thanks to his exploits for the Barcelona B team, was linked with Arsenal at the start of 2014. Wenger had hoped to lure the teenager to north London - just as he did with Cesc Fabregas 11 years earlier - but a move failed to materialise.
With Neymar and Pedro unfit and Luis Suarez banned until October, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique handed Munir - who impressed in pre-season - his senior debut at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
The youngster did not disappoint, hitting the bar early in the match before opening his account with a wonderful finish in the second half, despite the fact Barcelona had been reduced to 10 men.
Video: Is Munir the next Messi?
Wenger in desperate need of another striker
Arsenal were rocked by the news that Giroud could miss up to three months with an ankle injury on Monday. The Gunners have sent the France international to see a specialist, fearing that he may have suffered a break.
Wenger insisted earlier this summer that he had no plans to sign another striker before the transfer window closes, much to the bemusement of the club’s supporters. But the veteran French coach may need to reconsider his plans, with just seven days left before the transfer deadline passes.
Munir, whose current contract includes a £10 million release clause, would certainly be an option if Wenger was reluctant to sign another striker on a permanent deal, although his lack of experience would be a concern.
Wenger is also reportedly considering moves for world-class strikers Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao - although both appear unlikely to end up at the Emirates Stadium - as well as Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck and Queens Park Rangers’ Loic Remy.