Manchester City are hoping to use the presence of Mikel Arteta to convince Hector Bellerin to reject a new contract with Arsenal and join them, reports the Daily Mail.
The 21-year-old has emerged as the top target for Pep Guardiola, who tried and failed in an informal approach in pre-season. He saw a new right-back as a crucial component going into the summer transfer window but it appears to have been a case of Bellerin or nothing.
Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta have done little to convince the Spanish manager otherwise and the Citizens are likely to go back in for Bellerin in the January transfer window. The scale of the transfer and the fact that Arsenal are Premier League title rivals makes next summer a more realistic time to move, however.
Article continues below
Guardiola faces huge obstacles to get the deal over the line. First, Arsene Wenger will be reluctant to sell one of his best academy products to any club for any price, let alone to one of Arsenal's main rivals.
Secondly, Bellerin is thought to be happy in north London and has regularly spoken about his mission to repay the faith shown by Wenger. Finally, even if he was to leave Arsenal, City are likely to face competition from Bellerin's former and hometown club, Barcelona.
Article continues below
Luis Enrique has also made the rapid right-back his main transfer target with Catalan daily Sport claiming they are already laying the groundwork for a transfer bid next summer.
The father figure
Manchester City's only reason for hope is the presence of Arteta, the former Arsenal captain who spurned an opportunity to become a coach in north London to join Guardiola at the Etihad.
His departure was seen as trivial to most Arsenal fans but he could have a key influence in determining the future of Bellerin, who sees the midfielder as something of a father figure.
"Mikel and his wife adopted me when I arrived," said Bellerin, in an interview in May. "I was a kid and he has been like a father to me.
"He has been instrumental in my integration into the Arsenal."
Bellerin could end this transfer saga before it even starts if he agrees to sign a new contract with the Gunners. His current deal expires in 2019 but talks over a two-year extension have been slowly progressing since June.
Talks were inevitably held up by his unexpected inclusion in Spain's Euro 2016 squad and there is hope from within the club that a deal could be reached by the end of October.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms