Arsenal target Philippe Coutinho could snub the Gunners and join Flamengo instead, according to reports.
The Barcelona forward is set to leave the club in January after a tumultuous three years at Camp Nou.
He has struggled to find his best form in Catalonia and has been heavily linked with a move back to England, where he set the Premier League alight with Liverpool.
Arsenal appeared to be leading the race, with Coutinho reportedly encouraged by Mikel Arteta’s plans, but according to Diario Sport, another option has emerged for the 29-year-old.
That is Brazilian club Flamengo, with whom Coutinho’s agent – Kia Joorabchian – enjoys a close relationship.
Joorabchian has successfully negotiated deals with the club for Gabigol, Thiago Maia and Andreas Pereira in recent times and is well-placed to secure the best agreement for Coutinho, who is eager to reinstate himself in the Brazil squad.
Coutinho would like to feature at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and figures the best way to improve his chances is to increase his proximity to the local media, enabling him to advertise his talents close up.
Flamengo want a loan deal until at least the summer, with the possibility of an extension to the following winter. They have made it clear that they will be able to pay some, but not all, of his salary.
The rumours will come as a blow to Arteta, who was keen on a move for Coutinho as Arsenal look to maintain their impressive form.
The Gunners have won their last five matches in all competitions and sit fourth in the Premier League table, four points clear of West Ham in fifth.
Sol Campbell, the former centre-half, believes Arsenal could challenge for the title in the coming years if they continue their rapid progress.
“I saw Jack [Wilshere] talking [about winning the Premier League] and I think he said there’s no chance this season – but in the next two or three years if they bring the right players in there’s a possibility, yeah of course there is,” he told talkSPORT.
“I think if they get the right players in then why not? They are going really well, Arteta’s got them firing. Obviously their results as well, 5-0 against Norwich. I think if you want to show purpose you’ve got to beat teams like that at the bottom 5-0 and sweep them aside and carry on.
“Leeds away, 4-1 as well. So they’re going really, really well. A couple of results have not gone their way, I thought at Everton and Man Utd – but they’ve recovered really well. And I think this is a great test for them, I think they can go all the way.”