ARSENAL have stepped up their interest in Youri Tielemans and are ready to make a firm offer for the Leicester midfielder.
And they are confident of sealing a £30million deal for the 25-year-old Belgian international despite rival interest from Manchester United and Newcastle.
Manager Mikel Arteta has already been allowed to spend £83million this summer to beef up his squad with the signings of Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos.
Now he is turning his attention to strengthening his midfield and has been given the green light to make his next move in the market.
Arteta has turned to Tielemans after top target Ruben Neves was priced out of the market by Wolves’ £75million valuation of their Portuguese playmaker.
Arsenal have also explored the possibility of a bid for Lazio’s Sergej Malinkovic-Savic, but the Serbian international is two years older than Tielemans, has never played in the Premier League and would cost in excess of £50million.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is reluctant to lose Tielemans, who has been a key player at the King Power since becoming the club’s record signing when he joined from Monaco for £40million three years ago.
But with only one year left on his contract the club have reluctantly accepted they will have to cash in now rather than risk losing him as a free agent next summer.
And Tielemans has made it clear that he is keen to become a major player in Arsenal’s rebuilding process despite the club missing out on Champions League qualification for a sixth consecutive season.
Yet his signing will not be the end of Arteta’s spending spree, although he is resigned to missing out on Leeds winger Raphinha despite tabling a £55million bid.
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The club are refusing to give up hope of signing Ajax centre-half Lisandro Martinez even though the Argentine international appears to be heading to Manchester United for £40million.
But Arteta’s plans are being hampered by the club’s struggles to offload any of the seven players who do not figure in his plans.
Nicolas Pepe, Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson are all available for sale but have so far failed to attract any serious offers.