Nolito has been attracting interest from some of Europe's top clubs this season, having scored five goals in seven games for Os Celestes, with the Gunners and the Blaugrana being frontrunners.
The 28-year-old worked with current Barca boss Luis Enrique at Celta and it looked like that would prove to be the deciding factor in his future, but now the tables have turned and the Emirates club are in pole position.
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According to the Mirror, the Camp Nou club's own financial restrictions prevent them from meeting the £13 million release clause in his contract.
This could leave the door wide open for the Gunners, who have been long-term admirers off the Spain international.
Nolito has previous with Barcelona, having made five appearances for the Catalan club in a three-year spell between 2008-11. He also played 106 games for their B team, scoring 29 goals.
The former Benfica man has garnered quite a reputation over his career and currently has the most assists and chances created in La Liga.
Wenger may be tempted to make a move in January, given the relatively low release clause fee, if he can continue to produce performances of his current level.
The Gunners have an abundance of talent in the wide positions, but it can never hurt to add a player who boasts such impressive statistics.
Still, a number nine seems to be a more pressing concern for the Gunners, so any deal for Nolito may be put on the backburner until the summer.
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