Arsenal and Newcastle United have received a boost in their alleged pursuit of Cheikhou Kouyate, after Anderlecht's managing director revealed that the defender is free to leave the club at the end of the season, reports Sky Sports.
The 23-year-old has long been linked with a move to England, and has a growing list of admirers, as he continues to turn in commanding performances in the Belgian Pro League.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is understood to be keen to add the Senegalese international to his Emirates Stadium ranks, and has made a number of checks on the player in recent months.
However, Arsenal will face competition from the Magpies, with Alan Pardew also believed to be monitoring Kouyate's development in Brussels ahead of a proposed attempt to lure him to St James' Park.
Neither club will be able to secure the centre-back's signature in January though, after Herman Van Holsbeeck ruled out the possibility of an exit in the upcoming transfer window.
"The chances he stays at Anderlecht during the winter break are 75 per cent," he told Belgian weekly Sport/Foot Magazine.
"We have promised him a transfer at the end of the season, like we did with Dieumerci Mbokani and Lucas Biglia.
"I'm reading everywhere he'll be leaving in January, but I'm not sure about that. Finding a replacement during the season is difficult."
Van Holsbeeck added: "Only when a spectacular offer comes in, we will allow him to leave."