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Arsenal target 'pushing for Barcelona return this summer'

Arsenal target 'pushing for Barcelona return this summer'
© Reuters
An Arsenal-linked attacker is reportedly pushing for a return to Barcelona in the summer transfer window.

Arsenal-linked attacker Xavi Simons is reportedly pushing for a return to Barcelona in the summer transfer window.

Simons is currently contracted to French giants Paris Saint-Germain, but he enjoyed a productive 2023-24 campaign on loan at RB Leipzig where he established himself as a star player.

The 21-year-old scored 10 goals and registered 15 assists in 43 appearances for Leipzig across all competitions, including eight strikes and 13 assists in 32 Bundesliga outings.

Simons helped Die Roten Bullen secure a top-four finish in the Bundesliga and Champions League football for next season, while his club form has also been rewarded with a call-up to the Netherlands' preliminary squad for Euro 2024.

The versatile attacker, who also excelled on loan a PSV Eindhoven in 2022-23, is set to return to parent club PSG, but his long-term future at the Parc des Princes remains uncertain.

RB Leipzig's Xavi Simons celebrates scoring their first goal on January 20, 2024© Reuters

Simons favours Barcelona over Premier League move

According to Graeme Bailey, as reported by HITC, PSG are planning to let Simons leave the club on loan for a third successive season with the hope of making a big-money sale in the future.

Arsenal are said to be one of a number of clubs interested in the Dutchman's services and they allegedly sent scouts to watch the youngster at Leipzig earlier this season.

Fellow Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Chelsea and Aston Villa have also been credited with an interest, as have German giants Bayern Munich.

However, the report from Bailey claims that Simons would favour a summer move back to Barcelona where he began his career in their famous La Masia academy.

Interestingly, Simons's father is a supporter of Barcelona and named his son after current boss and club legend Xavi, whose future at Camp Nou remains uncertain.

Netherlands' Xavi Simons in action with Scotland's Kieran Tierney on March 22, 2024© Reuters

Simons joined Barca's academy at the age of seven and spent almost a decade in the club's youth ranks, but he never made a senior appearance and eventually joined PSG in 2019.

The attacker was handed his professional debut for the Ligue 1 club in February 2021 and has since played another 10 times for the first team, although his last game was in May 2022.

It seems unlikely at this stage that Simons will be reintegrated into Luis Enrique's first-team plans for next season despite enjoying two successful loan spells away from the club, but a possible return to Barca could also prove challenging due to their well-documented financial concerns.

Clubs such as Arsenal would presumably have the finances to lure Simons away from PSG, especially if they can generate further funds from the sale of fringe players including Emile Smith Rowe, who has been tipped to depart this summer.

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