Arsenal face competition from AC Milan in the race to sign Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, according to reports.
The 26-year-old Italian international was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in the closing stages of the summer transfer window, and is also believed to be one of a number of Arsene Wenger targets for the New Year.
However, reports in the player's homeland now claim Milan are preparing a £2.5 million move for the player, whose contract expires with the Viola in the summer.
Siniša Mihajlović is keen to avoid losing the player on a free transfer, with speculation that Arsenal may look to take advantage with either a pre-contract agreement or cheap January swoop.
Injuries in north London have exposed the Gunners' fragile midfield, and whilst Wenger reinforced with the signings of Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun (on loan), the loss of Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby has hit the Arsenal side hard.
Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri's exits amplified the problem, and when Arsenal first moved for Montolivo they were too late to secure his signature.
With talkSPORT reporting that the player has made clear he does not wish to extend his contract, a transfer battle is set to ensue at the beginning of next year, and Arsenal will face stiff competition to complete the signature.