Morata 'will complete Barcelona transfer this week but club will have to sell Arsenal target Coutinho to balance books'

ALVARO MORATA is on the cusp of becoming a Barcelona player – but cannot complete the transfer until the club reduce their wage bill.

Spanish outlet AS are reporting that a deal taking the former Chelsea striker to Barca from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid is now '95 per cent done'.

They add that there is an agreement in place with Juventus to terminate his loan so that he will be available to play for Barca within the next couple of weeks.

Morata, 29, is believed to be waiting for confirmation from his agent that the deal has been completed so that he can travel to Catalonia for his medical.

But Barca's sporting director Mateu Alemany will have to orchestrate some player sales first, with some big names seemingly set to leave the club.

In order to register Morata and comply with financial fair play rules in Spain, the five-time Champions League winners will need to reduce their wage bill.

And top earners Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti are the two players most likely to depart the club in January to allow them to complete the signing.

Coutinho, 29, is a target for several Premier League clubs, including Spurs, Everton and Newcastle – but Arsenal is believed to be his preference.

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Umtiti, 28, who has just one appearance to his name this season, is also available for transfer – with Newcastle interested in the £17m rated defender.

Barca have also completed a deal for former Manchester City winger Ferran Torres worth £46.7m up front, with a further £8.5m due in add-ons.

And the departures of Coutinho, Umtiti and on-loan Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong would allow Barca to register both Torres and Morata in their January squad.

Boss Xavi is reportedly pushing for the deals to be completed in time for them to face Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final on 12 January.

The 41-year-old Barcelona and Spain legend replaced Ronald Koeman in November and has lifted the club to fifth in the league after their horror start.

The 26-time LaLiga champions are enduring a difficult season which could see them finish outside of the top four for the first time since 2002-03.

Read our Transfer News Live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

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