Arsenal are preparing to open talks with Borussia Dortmund in an attempt to agree a deal for Ilkay Gundogan, reports The Express.
Dortmund officials have told Gundogan he must sign the contract that is on the table or risk being chucked out of the exit door by this summer at the latest. His current deal expires in 2016 and Jurgen Klopp does not want to see another big player leave for free.
Robert Lewandowski departed for nothing to Bayern Munich last summer and Klopp is keen to avoid a repeat. He is ready to cash in on the forceful midfielder and Arsenal are very interested.
Talks set to start
Arsene Wenger is preparing to send Arsenal officials to Dortmund to open discussions over a potential deal. £16 million is thought to be enough to convince Klopp to sell but there are concerns over paying that much for Gundogan.
The 25-year-old has spent the best part of the last 14-months out with a recurrent back injury and doubts still remain over his long-term future. While he has now returned to first team action, Gundogan is yet to rekindle the form that inspired Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final.
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But that does not seem to concern Wenger or, indeed, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal or Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Both have been linked with an interest, which may well explain Arsenal's hastiness to agree a deal.
Van Gaal has been looking for a new deep-lying midfielder for his Red Devils squad after converting Marouane Fellaini to a more advanced role. Kevin Strootman was his first choice, but doubts remain over AS Roma's willingness to sell.
Mourinho is likely to let Jon Obi Mikel leave Stamford Bridge this summer and a replacement will be required. Nemanja Matic has impressed in a similar role but Gundogan could provide excellent competition.
But no team in the Premier League needs a physical midfielder more than the Gunners. Francis Coquelin has returned from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic and walked into the first team. The Frenchman is obviously high up in Wenger's books, but his involvement in the first team is indicative of the situation at the Emirates Stadium.
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