Arsenal have switched their attention to Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue as a cheaper alternative to Yann M'Vila, according to The Times.
The 23-year-old was recently named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year following a series of combative performances in the middle of the park.
The tough tackling defensive midfielder would cost around half of the £17.7million valuation that Rennes have placed on M'Vila's head, prompting Arsene Wenger to weigh up his options.
Arsenal will step up their efforts to sign a holding midfielder when the transfer window reopens in June, after conceding 49 Premier League goals this season.
The poor form of Aaron Ramsey, and long-standing injuries to Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby, will force the Gunners into the transfer market, as they look to strengthen ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.
Despite suggestions from M'Vila's agent that a move to the Emirates Stadium is imminent for his client, Arsenal insist they are still deciding on the best step to take.
Capped at France U21 level, Capoue made his Toulouse debut five years ago, two years after joining the club's esteemed youth academy. He has developed into a fine player, and Wenger has clearly seen the potential as he considers an attempt to lure him to north London.