Arsenal have submitted an offer to sign Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi this summer - and the out-of-favour Spanish midfielder is tempted by the move.
Leading Spanish newspaper Marca - brought to our attention by the Metro - claim the 24-year-old is happy with the offer and would like to live in London but may favour a move away from the Bernabeu before the winter transfer window closes on February 2, rather than waiting until the end of the season.
Whether Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is prepared to bring Illarramendi to the Emirates Stadium this month is unclear, but the French coach will need to make a swift decision because Athletic Bilbao have also made an approach for the former Spain Under-23 international.
Illarramendi has struggled at Real Madrid
Illarramendi made his name at Real Sociedad before securing a big-money transfer to Real Madrid in July 2013.
Los Blancos paid a cool €32.2 million for the midfielder, who helped Spain win the Under-21 European Championships, but have failed to get the best out of him.
Article continues below
And now it appears that Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, having identified a potential replacement, is prepared to allow the player to leave the Bernabeu.
It’s understood that Brazil Under-21 international Lucas Silva is on the brink of finalising a move to the reigning European champions from Brazilian outfit Cruzeiro.
Upgrade for Arsenal
A midfielder of considerable quality, Illarramendi would be an upgrade on Arsenal’s current options. The technically-gifted central midfielder has, to date, made 70 appearances for Ancelotti’s side, scoring three goals.
But he currently finds himself behind the likes of Isco, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez in the pecking order. Sami Khedira and Luka Modric, who is currently injured, are also ahead of the Arsenal target.
Arsenal have long been interested in Khedira, but may feel that Illarramendi is a slightly cheaper and more realistic option.
The former Real Sociedad star would be a significant upgrade on the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin, who is poised to be offered a new three-year contract from the Gunners after impressing since returning from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic.
Arsenal fans: would Illarramendi be a decent signing for your club? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below.