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The Gunners, who have activated the Belgian's release clause, are talking to his camp and will open formal discussions with the midfielder when given permission by Everton

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey

Arsenal have made Marouane Fellaini a contract offer as they set their sights on sealing a deal for the Everton midfielder.

BELGIAN BRUISER

FELLAINI'S 2012-13 SEASON
GAMES PLAYED
GOALS
ASSISTS
36
12
8
The Gunners, who have already activated the Belgian’s €25.5 million release clause, are believed to have proposed to his representatives a starting salary of €82,000-a-week.

This is less than Fellaini’s current €88,000-a-week wage at Goodison Park but Arsenal are expected to increase their informal offer during further discussions with the player’s camp.

It is understood that official talks will begin with Fellaini when he is given permission to do so by Everton, which is expected to be at some point this month.

Arsenal activated Fellaini’s buy-out clause a fortnight ago as they prepare to smash the €20m barrier on two marquee signings this summer.

A Gunners delegation is in Spain this weekend to tie up the signing of Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has agreed personal terms on a deal starting at €117,000-a-week. Arsenal and Real will thrash out the fee for the Argentine, with the Londoners hopeful an offer around the €23m mark can close the deal.

Arsenal will then turn their attention to securing a second statement signing of the summer as Arsene Wenger makes full use of the biggest transfer kitty in the club’s history.

Fellaini is currently on his summer break, which has included time spent in the Spanish resort of Marbella, but the Belgium international is expected to return from his holiday next week.

Arsenal are in pole position to capture the versatile midfielder after making a concerted attempt to capture a player who has long been admired by Wenger.

New Manchester United manager David Moyes is yet to make a move for the player who worked under him for five years at Everton, which, given that Chelsea have dropped their interest in Fellaini, could leave the road clear for Arsenal.

It would be regarded as a considerable statement of intent if Wenger completes the signings of both Fellaini and Higuain.

Intriguingly, the Arsenal manager also retains a strong interest in Wayne Rooney but will not continue his pursuit of Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic if he captures Higuain.

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