Arsenal have stepped up their search for a defensive midfielder by offering Sporting Lisbon £23.9million for William Carvalho.
Arsene Wenger also remains keen on Sami Khedira but, significantly, Carvalho’s wage demands are much lower than those of the Real Madrid midfielder, who wants £150,000 a week.
Carvalho is on a mere €5,000 (£4,129) a month at Sporting and the club have failed to persuade him to stay despite offering him a massive pay rise.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs including Manchester United and Manchester City.
Carvalho has a £37m release clause but the Portuguese club are ready to accept a lower offer if the fee is paid in full up front.
They hope to generate a bidding war to ensure they bring in as much money as possible to reinvest in their team.
Arsenal have made the first move for the Portugal international and are willing to pay the fee in one go.
Real Madrid are still willing to offload Khedira this summer as he has just one year left on his contract and do not want him to leave on a free transfer in 12 months’ time. They have already lined up Brazil and Wolfsburg star Luis Gustavo as a possible replacement and hope Arsenal will finalise a switch for Khedira.
The 27-year-old is due to report for pre-season training tomorrow and talks will be held over his future.
Wenger again refused to deny his interest in Khedira over the weekend, although the player is believed to have indicated he is now willing to discuss a contract extension with Madrid.