Morgan Schneiderlin is ready to reject an £18 million move to Arsenal in favour of their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs, reports The Daily Star.
Arsenal contacted Southampton to open talks about a potential move for the France international. The Gunners were willing to pay £15 million to land Schneiderlin with the Saints wanting £3 million more.
However, those talks have done nothing to convince Schneiderlin over a potential move to the Emirates Stadium. For the 24-year-old, a move to White Hart Lane, home of Arsenal's bitter rivals Tottenham, is much more appealing.
Tottenham fans should not get ahead of themselves though. With more money, a bigger stadium and Champions League on offer on show, Arsenal still represents a more attractive option than Spurs. Schneiderlin's affinity towards Tottenham has been born out of the fact that Mauricio Pochettino is in charge.
The Argentinian left St Mary's to replace Tim Sherwood at White Hart Lane and he is reportedly keen to bring Schneiderlin in. Tottenham have big ambitions to reach the top four and it appears the player wants to become a part of it.
For Arsenal, losing out on Schneiderlin could prove a massive blow. The deep-lying midfielder is exactly what the Gunners need in their team to complement the creative forces of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have already failed in their attempts to sign Real Madrid star Sami Khedira. The World Cup winner was demanding £150,000-a-week, which Wenger was unwilling to offer.
It means Arsenal are facing up to the prospect of moving for their third-choice midfielder or, possibly, not signing one at all and sticking with current tough tacklers Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. Wenger will undoubtedly be aware that such option would not give Arsenal a defensive midfield worthy of winning a Premier League title.