Arsenal have launched the highest bid for Lucas Silva

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Arsenal have met Cruzeiro's asking price for midfield starlet Lucas Silva, but talks with between the Brazilian club and Real Madrid are ongoing, reports Marca.

The 21-year-old has been subject to intense speculation so far this season with a number of top European clubs believed to be monitoring his situation. Arsenal appear to be the only club willing to meet the €15 million asking price with Arsene Wenger keen to strengthen his squad.

A defensive midfielder is on the top of the Gunners boss' January shopping list and, fresh from being named the best defensive midfielder in the Brazilian league, Silva appears to be a main transfer target.

Continuing talks

The Spanish daily claims that Arsenal have already submitted a formal offer towards the Brazilian champions, meeting their demands, but that Cruzeiro officials are continuing talks with Real Madrid. The La Liga giants have offered €10 million plus a further €2 million in performance related bonuses, which was rejected.

Still, Real Madrid remain favourites to secure the player in the January transfer window despite Carlo Ancelotti claiming no one would be leaving or entering the Bernabeu during the winter window.

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Firm favourites

Real Madrid officials believe they are still in prime position to snatch the talented youngster despite Arsenal's offer. As Silva is yet to make his international debut, a move to the Emirates Stadium would be fraught with work permit complications.

He may have to go out on loan to Spain, cutting a similar path to Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell amongst others. While Arsenal appear to be well in front of Premier League rivals in the race for Silva, they are still firmly behind Real Madrid.

Premier League rivals

Louis van Gaal was reportedly interested in signing Silva as a potential long-term replacement for Michael Carrick. However, it appears attentions at Old Trafford have since turned to AS Roma powerhouse Kevin Strootman, who Van Gaal knows from his time managing Holland.

Chelsea have also been linked with a move, but Jose Mourinho spoke only yesterday about pushing home grown youngsters into the first team. As a result, defensive midfielder Rubens Loftus-Cheek is set to make his debut against Sporting Lisbon tonight.

It seems Mourinho has his priorities firmly focused on bringing the young Englishman through the ranks.

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