Arsenal are increasingly optimistic that Newcastle United holding midfielder Cheick Tiote will sign for the Gunners before the transfer window closes on September 1. The north London club face competition for the Ivory Coast international's signature from Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow, but are confident of securing a £14 million deal.
Lokomotiv had an £8 million offer recently turned down by Newcastle, according to the Metro, and the Magpies are keen to keep the powerful 28-year-old at St James' Park.
But the same report claims Newcastle would be willing to do business if Arsenal - or Lokomotiv - submit a £14 million bid before the summer transfer window deadline passes.
Wenger open to signing holding midfielder
Arsene Wenger admitted in his press conference this morning that the Gunners are in the market for a defensive midfielder after club captain Mikel Arteta was ruled out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury.
The Telegraph claim Wenger has drawn up a three-man shortlist - comprised of Sami Khedira, Lars Bender and William Carvalho - for the position, but it appears the combative Tiote could be the midfield enforcer signed up by Arsenal.
Wenger's pursuit of Cabaye
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, however, is unlikely to be impressed with Wenger's timing. This time last year, the Arsenal boss unsettled Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who was denied a move to the Emirates Stadium before eventually joining Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Arsenal's interest - and bid - turned the France international's head; he subsequently refused to play against both Manchester City and West Ham before issuing an apology to the club's supporters for his unprofessional behaviour weeks later.
Pardew may fear the same reaction from Tiote ahead of crunch Premier League matches against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
Watch: Tiote's wondergoal v Arsenal
Tiote: Perfect for Arsenal?
But Tiote, who arrived at St James' Park from FC Twente in 2010, will have learned a valuable lesson from his former team-mate's behaviour - and may opt to play it differently, even if tempted by the move to Arsenal.
Despite Arsenal's impressive 3-0 victory over Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield, and last weekend's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, many Gunners' supporters are of the opinion that their team are still in desperate need of another striker to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud, and a quality central midfielder.
Khedira, Bender and Carvalho would be more glamorous signings, but Tiote is a midfielder with four years of Premier League experience under his belt - and this could be the reason why Wenger is keen to strike a deal for the latter.