Arsenal can ‘complicate’ Joao Cancelo’s future with Mikel Arteta ready to complete another deal with Manchester City, reports in the Spanish press claim.

The Gunners could attempt to persuade Cancelo to reject offers of a permanent move from Barcelona in favour of a switch to north London.

Cancelo joined Barca on loan from City last summer. His relationship with manager Pep Guardiola is widely reported to have broken down, seemingly ruling out a return to the reigning Premier League champions at the end of the season.

Arsenal may strengthen at full-back in the summer transfer window despite signing Jurrien Timber last year. Cancelo fits the profile of full-back preferred by Arteta – confident in possession and able to move into a midfield position when his side have possession.

According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the Gunners therefore plan to ‘complicate’ Barca’s permanent move for the 29-year-old defender. The La Liga giants were hoping to extend the Portugal international’s stay beyond the end of the season after a fine campaign on loan in Spain.

Cancelo has been one of La Blaugrana’s best players this term having settled seamlessly at Camp Nou. However, a full-time switch may reportedly be scuppered by Arsenal, whose manager Arteta has an excellent relationship with the City hierarchy.

Arteta was previously assistant to Guardiola from 2016 until he was appointed by Arsenal in December 2019. The 42-year-old has signed Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from his former club and may hope for a repeat of that success with the potential addition of Cancelo.

Cancelo recently accused City of being ‘ungrateful’ towards him and said that “lies were told” after his exit, initially to Bayern Munich on loan in January 2023 before he joined Barca the following summer.

“Lies were told. I was never a bad companion for them and you can ask either [Nathan] Ake or Rico [Lewis]. I don’t have any superiority or inferiority complex towards them,” he told Portuguese publication A Bola.

“I think Manchester City were a bit ungrateful to me when they said that because I was a very important player in the years I was there. I never failed in my commitment to the club, to the fans. I always gave everything.”

Reinforcing how committed he was to City during his spell at the club, Cancelo pointed to the time his house was burgled and he played a Premier League game the next day. “I remember a time when I was robbed and attacked and the next day I was playing at the Emirates against Arsenal,” he continued.

“These are things you don’t forget. I left my wife and daughter alone at home, terrified. People will only remember this because Mr Guardiola has much more strength than me when he says something, and I prefer to keep to myself.”