Arsenal open talks with Real Madrid for £6m midfielder Esteban Granero

Gunners delegation sent to Madrid to begin negotiations to land the 24-year-old from the Bernabeu in January amidst concerns over Jack Wilshere's recovery from surgery
By Wayne Veysey | Chief correspondent

Arsenal are pushing to complete a deal for Esteban Granero in January after opening talks with Real Madrid to buy the midfielder, has learned.

An Arsenal delegation led by transfer negotiator Richard Law was in Madrid last week to begin negotiations with Real chiefs.

Granero, a former Real youth-team player who returned to the club last year following a three-year spell at Getafe, has been earmarked by Arsene Wenger as a New Year signing.

The Arsenal manager is without Jack Wilshere for at least another four months and believes attacking midfielder Granero can help take some of the creative burden off the likes of Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey.

However, understands that Arsenal face a fight to convince the 24-year-old to move to the Premier League rather than stay in Spain, where he has also reportedly attracted interest from big-spending Malaga.

Real value Granero at around £6million but are hopeful that a bidding war could raise his price beyond that.

The Spanish club told Arsenal they would prefer to keep Granero until the end of the season even though he has featured only intermittently during Jose Mourinho’s reign at the Bernabeu.

The Spain Under-21 international played in 32 matches for Real last season, mainly as a substitute, and has been sidelined even further in the current campaign, playing just seven minutes for the first team in two substitute appearances.

Arsenal, who have also earmarked £25m-rated Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila as a January target, will rotate Arteta, Ramsey and Alex Song with rookies Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin and veteran Tomas Rosicky in the three central midfield berths between now and the winter window.

But understands that Wenger is privately concerned about how much of an impact Wilshere will have this season as the manager attempts to end the club’s six-year trophy drought.

Even if Wilshere’s recovery from ankle surgery last month goes smoothly and it corresponds to the 22-week schedule mapped out by the club’s medical department, by the time the teenager returns to the team in late February or early March, he will have been out for seven months in total.

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