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Barca shortlist £20m Arsenal target but may hand Gunners trump card

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Juan Cuadrado has reportedly made Barcelona’s transfer shortlist, but as a full-back - which could open the door for Arsenal to make a move.

Arsenal are blessed with a wealth of attacking talent in their squad, but one area that could be improved this summer is the pace department.

While the likes of Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have unquestionable quality going forward, Theo Walcott is the Gunners’ only true speed threat at present.

The Englishman’s devastating knee injury in January left Arsene Wenger without this arrow in his quiver and highlighted the need to bring aboard another player of his ilk for next season to challenge for the Premier League title.

A variety of wingers have been linked with a move to the Emirates, including Barcelona’s Pedro and Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid, whilst Juan Cuadrado of Fiorentina has long been mooted as a top option for Arsenal.

But Cuadrado’s barnstorming campaign in Serie A sees competition rife for his signature, with financial heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona both in the mix.

And according to Mundo Deportivo, Cuadrado has made the final cut for the Catalans’ shortlist of targets - but with a catch.

Blaugrana boss Luis Enrique reportedly plans to use the Colombian as a long-term replacement for Dani Alves at right-back, rather than in an attacking role.

This foreseeably could be a sticking point for Cuadrado, who despite his versatility, has found a home in advanced positions at Fiorentina and may be hesitant to move into defence.

If right-back is genuinely where Enrique intends to field the 26-year-old, he would be alerted to this in negotiations and conceivably could have his head turned by other suitors - namely Arsenal.

A role in attack in North London could potentially be more intriguing to Cuadrado, and offering him this option may be the Gunners’ ticket to beating Barcelona to his signature.

With a £20 million price-tag on his head Cuadrado wouldn’t come cheap, but Arsene Wenger is said to have considerable funds at his disposal and the Colombian would certainly be a boon to Arsenal’s cause in an area of need.

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