Arsenal are preparing a £15 million bid for Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko after identifying the France international as a short-term replacement for the injured Jack Wilshere.
This is according to the Sunday Times - and brought to our attention by the Express - who understand that Sissoko could be signed to fill the void left by Wilshere, who is expected to be sidelined until March after undergoing ankle surgery.
The report adds that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the 25-year-old - and has not been deterred from making a move for the powerful central midfielder despite his red card against West Ham on Saturday.
Wenger a fan of Sissoko
Newcastle signed Sissoko from Toulouse for an undisclosed fee in January 2013. The Frenchman, who can also play on the wing, has been a key player in the Magpies' midfield ever since.
Wenger, who boasts an impressive track record of signing top French players during his 18-year Gunners' tenure, is desperate to bolster his midfield options and believes Sissoko possesses the required quality to play for a club competing for major honours both domestically and in Europe.
Article continues below
Will Newcastle sell?
Whether Newcastle will be prepared to cash-in on one of their most valuable players, however, is doubtful. Indeed, Arsenal may need to submit a bid in excess of £15 million to convince the north-east outfit to sell.
The Gunners unsuccessfully attempted to sign Yohan Cabaye from Newcastle in the summer of 2013, even though the France international was sold to Paris Saint-Germain less than six months later for £19 million.
That deal indicates every player at St James' Park has their price - but it's unclear whether Arsenal will be prepared to match Newcastle's valuation for Sissoko.
Wilshere will expect to walk back into Arsenal's starting line-up when he returns from his injury lay-off, regardless of whether or not Sissoko is signed.
The England international was in fine form prior to his injury - sustained against Manchester United last month - and was beginning to show glimpses of his unquestionable top-level talent.
Sissoko, though, might be tempted to join Arsenal for several reasons, including the chance to increase his salary and the opportunity to win trophies.