After Rennes announced that Yann M'Vila is free to leave the club this summer, widespread speculation has linked the talented 21-year-old with a host of top European clubs.
Inter Milan and Real Madrid have both been sounded out as potential destinations for the highly-rated France international midfielder, who has been likened in playing style to Claude Makelele.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made an enquiry for M'Vila last summer, before the in-demand youngster was persuaded to sign a new contract with the Ligue 1 club, on the understanding he would be allowed to leave this year, providing Rennes received an acceptable offer.
His valuation has been touted at £17million - or in Gunners terms - £2million more than the club's existing record signing Andrei Arshavin, who arrived in north London for £15million in January 2009.
A holding midfielder has been identified as one of Wenger's main transfer priorities during the close season, but whether or not the frugal Frenchman would be prepared to surpass his biggest ever outlay in order to bring his compatriot to the Emirates Stadium this summer, still remains to be seen.
However, if M'Vila's asking price is excessively inflated due to the high interest in the player, then history has told us that the likelihood of Arsenal following up their proposed plans, would be slim to say the least.
The Premier League's current third-place side are believed to have a number of alternative targets in mind, but the Rennes starlet remains Arsenal's first-choice midfield addition.
The offer of Champions League football next season will go a long way in convincing M'Vila that his future would be best served in England, after recently intimating that Wenger's personal influence could also be decisive ahead of his proposed negotiations.
"Inter, Arsenal, Real — these are great clubs," he told Canal+ on Monday. "If the coach calls you and tells you he wants you to make you play, especially a French coach, it changes everything. The important thing for me is getting playing time for the France team."
Despite having three years remaining on his current deal, Rennes are resigned to losing their star player at the end of the campaign: "Yann M'Vila won't be a Rennes player next season," the manager, Frederic Antonetti, was quoted saying last month.
General manager Pierre Dreossi, also confirmed the French club's intentions to abide by a 'gentleman's agreement' from last summer, which would allow M'Vila to leave at the end of 2011-12.
"Last summer, the deal was that he remained for one more season and then we would not block a move if a good offer arrived," Dreossi recently told L'Equipe. "We have contacts, but nothing has been agreed as yet."
M'Vila's qualities are tailor-made for the hustle and bustle of the Premier League. His strength and athleticism combined with a cultured calmness that enables him to instigate attacks from a deep-lying midfield role, make him well-suited to Arsenal.
He is the perfect compliment for the likes of Jack Wilshere and Alex Song, providing a mixture of silk and steel that could help shore-up the Gunners' defensive frailties, whilst also adding even more creativity to Wenger's already expressive midfield department.
A certain starter for France at Euro 2012 this summer, means that M'Vila's valuation will only rise even further the longer Arsenal wait to make their anticipated move.
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