Arsenal have reportedly expressed an interest in signing Zenit defensive midfielder Wilmar Barrios, according to French outlet Jeunes Footeux.
The 26-year-old has been with the Russian club since February 2019, when he joined from Boca Juniors, and has clocked up 49 competitive club appearances, scoring twice.
Despite having been with Zenit for a relatively short amount of time, Barrios has already won two Russian titles and one Russian Cup, while at Boca he won two Argentinian championships.
Barrios is also a Colombia international with 28 caps and has played at the 2018 World Cup – including in the last-16 meeting with England – as well as the 2019 Copa America.
According to Jeunes Footeux, Arsenal have “approached” the Zenit enforcer, whose 30m euro (around £27m) price tag “shouldn’t deter” the Gunners, who want to sell Matteo Guendouzi and could also lose Lucas Torreira.
The French publication also claims that fellow Premier League side Newcastle United are keen and have made an offer of 17m euro (around £15.5m), which has been deemed “insufficient”.
Barrios courted controversy on these shores following his apparent headbutt on Jordan Henderson at the World Cup, which yielded a yellow card, much to the chagrin of Gary Neville, who deemed it a “stonewall” red card.
The 26-year-old has clocked up a fair few yellow cards over his career – 47 in 167 competitive club appearances – but he has never actually been shown a straight red, just three sendings-off for two bookings, and none at Zenit.
Perhaps this is just what Arsenal could do with, a serial winner who isn’t afraid to add some bite and steel to the heart of the midfield, but knows just how to toe the line.