Arsenal will go back in for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho with a £20 million bid when the January transfer opens later this week.
That is according to the Independent, who believe that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has picked Carvalho as the man to finally bring some much-needed strength and solidity to the part in central midfield.
Wenger held talks over a move for Carvalho in the Autumn and had an initial £15m offer for the Portuguese international knocked back, but Arsenal's need for a new anchor in that pivotal holding midfield role is clear and means the Gunners will now reluctantly meet Sporting's asking price with an improved offer next month.
Champions League exit paves the way
Arsenal are confident they can get a deal for Carvalho signed and sealed in January because Sporting are finally ready to cash in on their most-prized asset, primarily because their Champions League adventure is now over.
The 22-year-old impressed against Chelsea in Europe's premier club competition, but couldn't help Sporting reach the knockout stages. That exit has prompted Arsenal to move in the middle of the season for a player who has the makings of a top-class midfielder powerhouse, rather than wait until next summer.
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Man United interest has waned
After months of transfer speculation Arsenal have suddenly emerged as the frontrunners to sign Carvalho, primarily because one-time suitors Manchester United moved on from a chase which saw them scout the enforcer on numerous occasions during David Moyes' time in charge.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal didn't rate the man with the famous £37.5 million release clause and decided to sign Daley Blind instead, although United could definitely still do with added bite in central midfield.
Chelsea are also fully stocked in that position thanks to the consistently brilliant Nemanja Matic, which when compared to Arsenal's options in Mathieu Flamini and Francis Coquelin shows the gap in class the Gunners have to make up.
Carvalho would be a huge step towards redressing that balance, particularly with Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin unavailable, so its now up to Wenger and Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis to get a priority transfer deal over the line as a matter of urgency.