Newcastle United have sent chief scout Graham Carr to France to watch Marvin Martin, according to reports.
The Sunday Sun claimed the player has come to the attention of Toon boss Alan Pardew, who dispatched his top man to watch the 23-year-old French international in Ligue 1 action.
Regarded as the jewel in the crown at Sochaux, Martin has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, with Arsene Wenger a known admirer of the five-cap international.
Martin burst onto the scene at the Stade Auguste Bonal in 2008, and helped guide the club to Europe with a fifth place finish domestically last term. They were eliminated in the qualifying round of the Europa League.
Wenger has a track record of bringing young French players to the Emirates, and was reported to have sent Arsenal scouts to watch the midfielder last term ahead of a possible summer move.
However, a Gunners move failed to materialise, and with Arsenal now appearing to be on the back-foot over a move for the player, Pardew finds him well placed in the race for Martin.
A plethora of Frenchmen at St. James' Park could also be key to Newcastle securing the player's signature, with Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Mehdi Abeid, Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan already at the club.
Nicknamed 'little Xavi' by his teammates, it's claimed Martin has an agreement with Sochaux that he can leave if a bid meets their valuation next summer, and his signature would be a coup for Newcastle if they won the race for Martin's services.