Serie A outfit Fiorentina are considering making a £3 million bid to sign Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard only has 12 months remaining on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium and could be encouraged to leave the north London outfit with Arsene Wenger keen to sign at least one central midfielder this summer.
This is according to the Telegraph, who believe the Florence-based team are keen to add the uncapped former Barcelona youngster to their ranks. Arteta has served Arsenal well since joining the club from Everton in 2011, but struggled for form last season and is unlikely to be a first-choice option next term as he approaches his 33rd birthday.
Arteta wants to stay
Arteta's agent, Inaki Ibanez, has made it clear that his client has no desire to leave the Gunners this summer. He feels settled in London and, with Thomas Vermaelen expected to leave the Emirates Stadium for Manchester United this summer, the Spaniard is in line to become the club's next permanent captain.
"I have never spoken with Fiorentina. Mikel has one year more on his contract and he has no desire to go away from Arsenal," Ibanez told Radio Blu Toscana. “He's fine there and he's also the team's captain. I have not spoken with any club.
“If he'd like to come to Fiorentina? No, we're talking about Arsenal's captain, with all due respect to Fiorentina, he is fine there and he does not want to leave."
Arsenal not prepared to offer Arteta a new deal?
Earlier this year it was revealed that Arsenal had opted against opening talks with Arteta over a new contract. The situation has not changed over the past couple of months, and it seems increasingly likely that the Spaniard will be released at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
However, with 12 months left to run on his contract, Arteta may back himself to earn a new one-year deal by impressing Wenger next season.
Mikel Arteta: Arsenal's Spanish maestro
Wenger targeting several holding midfielders
Arteta, though, may have few opportunities to impress next term if Wenger gets his way. The veteran Gunners' boss will almost certainly make a bid for one of several high-profile holding midfielders over the coming weeks.
Real Madrid's Sami Khedira is top of the Frenchman's list, while Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin have also been linked with a move tot he Emirates Stadium in recent weeks.
With Alexis Sanchez also on his way, from Barcelona, it seems increasingly likely that Arteta will be reduced to a peripheral role next season - regardless of whether or not he is handed the captain's armband.
Arsenal fans: should Arteta leave the Gunners this summer? Is he still good enough to play for the club? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.