ARSENAL RECEIVE HUGE KEIRA WALSH BOOST AS MANCHESTER CITY BRACE FOR BARCELONA RAID

Arsenal Women and Barcelona are reportedly negotiating the "final terms" of a deal for England midfielder Keira Walsh - a development which looks set to trigger the departure of defender Laia Aleixandri from Manchester City.

Walsh joined Barcelona in 2022 from Manchester City for a then world-record transfer fee in women's football. The Lioness has since gone on to cut herself one of the best midfielders in the women's game, winning back-to-back Champions Leagues and Liga F titles while winning the 2022 European championships and reaching last summer's Women's World Cup final with England.

Despite the 27-year-old's success since joining the Spanish giants, reports have claimed that Walsh, whose contract with Barcelona is set to expire next month, wants to return to her home country.

Arsenal have been interested in procuring Walsh's services for some time, but Barcelona rebuffed any pursuit given Walsh's importance to Barcelona's midfield alongside Patri Guijarro and Ballon d'Or winner Aitana Bonmati.

However, according to Spanish outlet Relovo, Barcelona are keen on bringing back Spanish international Aleixandri from Manchester City, a desire that could lead the club to sell Walsh to Arsenal to raise the necessary funds.

According to the report, negotiations between Arsenal and Barcelona over the sale of the England international are in their final stages with financial terms being finalised. Negotiations between Barcelona and City have also reportedly reached advanced stages.

Aleixandri, who progressed through the Catalan club's academy from the age of 11, still has one year left on her deal with City and has become an integral part of Gareth Taylor's side. The 23-year-old wore the captain's armband on a number of occasions across her 21 league appearances last term and was an important part of City's defence as they pushed reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea to the season's final day.

Barcelona, who brought back Ona Batlle from Manchester United last season, are keen on the move but know that City will demand a high fee for Aleixandri's signature, a fee that Barcelona could meet with money made from the sale of the game's previous most expensive player Walsh to Arsenal.

Walsh would join former Barcelona stars Laia Codina and Mariona Caldentey in leaving the club and joining Arsenal.

Jonas Eidevall's side finished third in the WSL last season having struggled to demonstrate the necessary consistency and ruthlessness to match Chelsea and City.

A move to Arsenal would not only see Walsh return to her home country, but would also see her link-up with her best friend and compatriot Leah Williamson.

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2024-06-17T11:47:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd