Arsenal will scout Mohamed Diame at Old Trafford on Wednesday night as they weigh up a January bid for the West Ham midfielder.
As revealed by Goal.com, the north Londoners identified Diame as a target in early December but want to be fully convinced of his fitness before making a formal move.
The Senegal international has a £3.5 million trigger clause written in the contract he signed after joining the Hammers on a free from Wigan Athletic last summer.
Arsene Wenger regards Diame as good value and has been biding his time while the midfield powerhouse recovers from the hamstring injury that he sustained in West Ham’s defeat against Liverpool on December 9.
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West Ham are in talks to offer Diame a new contract that will increase both his wages and the release clause but his future at Upton Park is in doubt until he commits.
Arsenal want a midfielder who can come straight into the team and make an immediate impact, a necessity that is even greater given the calf injury that will keep Mikel Arteta out for at least another fortnight.
Wenger’s scouts will closely monitor the fitness of Diame, who was in outstanding form before his injury and is now fit again following his spell on the sidelines, before trying to tempt him across London.
The 25-year-old was an unused substitute for West Ham’s defeat at Sunderland last Saturday and will travel with the team for the FA Cup third round replay at Manchester United on Wednesday.
Arsenal are yet to make any January signings but remain in the market for a striker, a goalkeeper and a central midfielder. The Gunners are also in a head-to-head battle with Manchester United to sign Wilfried Zaha, with talks with Crystal Palace scheduled for this week.
Arsenal made an enquiry for Wigan midfielder James McCarthy earlier this month, but were put off by the £10m asking price.
Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who can play in defence and as a midfield anchorman, is also on the radar but he is regarded as a more realistic target for the summer.
The Gunners' midfield attention is now firmly centred on Diame and the club's scouts will be closely monitoring his forthcoming performances.