Arsenal could make a surprise move for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb as negotiations over a contract extension at White Hart Lane continue to stall.
The Algeria international has been speaking to senior Spurs officials for the past nine months in a bid to secure a new and improved deal after cementing his place in Mauricio Pochettino's starting line-up.
Bentaleb was handed his senior debut under the former tutelage of Tim Sherwood in December 2013, and he's gone on to establish himself as a first-team regular alongside fellow academy graduate Ryan Mason in the heart of midfield.
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Harry Kane is another old youth team-mate that has made an explosive impact in the Tottenham team having netted a mightily impressive 21 goals in the Premier League, which earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award and a call-up to the senior England national team.
The striker was rewarded for his fine form with a new five-year contract midway through 2014/15 while Mason also put pen to paper on a long-term extension, but so far there has been little progress when it comes to sorting out Bentaleb's future.
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"I play every game like it is my last game," the 20-year-old is quoted saying by the Daily Telegraph. "I give everything on the pitch. I've been working really hard and it's normal for me to want to get rewarded.
"We've been negotiating for nearly nine months now, since September, and it's getting really long and, of course, I'm getting a little bit tired of it. But I still work hard. It doesn't change how hard I work. I will still be the same person. But sometimes it is annoying when you don't feel treated as you should be.
"This season was a really good season for me and I've had some interest from big clubs, from Champions League clubs. I'm really flattered."
Arsene Wenger is not alone in his admiration of Bentaleb as Paris St-Germain and Juventus are both believed to have scouted the talented youngster as well, meaning the Gunners might have to go head to head with some European heavyweights if they indeed want to lure the player to the Emirates Stadium.
However, Bentaleb has not ruled out the possibility of staying at Tottenham, providing he is offered terms that he believes reflects his growing influence in the team, and says that he can achieve his ambition of playing in Europe's elite club competition at the Lane.
"I have absolutely no problem with the club itself. I like the club. I really enjoy playing," he added. "When I put the Tottenham shirt on I give everything. The people from the club understand this. The fans understand this.
"[The] Champions League is a possibility next season. This season was our first season altogether with the gaffer – his first year. It took a little bit of time to impose his style of play, and for us to understand it and his way of working, and we didn't do badly.
"I would say we did well for the first season. We came fifth. We can only improve. This will be a really important pre-season for us."
Tottenham fans: Do you agree with Nabil Bentaleb's assertion that Mauricio Pochettino's side can break back into the top four next season? What do you think the Algerian deserves to be paid at White Hart Lane? Share your thoughts below…
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