Arsenal have picked Willian over Philippe Coutinho and are expected to snap up the Chelsea star this summer transfer window.
Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his Gunners side this month and build upon the recent success of winning the FA Cup last season.
But Mirror Sport understands that Arsenal have snubbed the opportunity to sign Coutinho – even on loan for the season – in favour of landing Willian.
The Gunners technical director Edu has a good relationship with Kia Joorabchian, who is both Willian and Coutinho’s agent, and himself an Arsenal fan.
Coutinho will remain at Barcelona next season should he fail to secure a move away from the Catalan giants, while Willian is out of contract at Chelsea this month.
Willian, 31, is the cheaper option of the two players, and an individual Arteta is keen to bring in even if only for the one season.
Arsenal do not have the money to sign both players, meaning as soon as the Willian deal is finalised, Coutinho will have to consider other clubs.
Barcelona initially offered Coutinho to Arsenal as part of a swap deal for Matteo Guendouzi. The Gunners were also required to pay £7million.
Guendouzi has been frozen out at Arsenal, and hasn’t featured for the club since his petulant display against Brighton, which culminated in him strangling Neal Maupay.
During Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Chelsea last weekend the youngster was on holiday.
Arteta appears keen to move the Frenchman on this summer, but it looks unlikely that Guendouzi will get a move to Barcelona this month.
The Catalan giants are in a uncertain financial position, and are looking to offload players before making any new signings.
Arsenal’s decision to snub Coutinho in favour of Willian has done the club no favours.
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