Arsenal have reached an agreement with Rennes to sign defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila for €22 million [£17.7m] this summer, according to Le Parisien.
As revealed by Goal.com in March, the 21-year-old has been one of Arsene Wenger's long-term transfer targets and is set to sign a four-year contract.
Former France and Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly told Goal.com that M'Vila is better than Patrick Vieira, who spent nine years with the Gunners, and insisted that if he was the chairman of a Premier League club he would do whatever it takes to sign him.
Wenger has already made inroads to strengthen his squad ahead of the transfer window by securing the services of Koln striker Lukas Podolski, while the likely acquisition of M'Vila represents a stark contrast to Arsenal's business last summer.
M'Vila is likely to feature prominently for France at Euro 2012 this summer and his acquisition would be viewed as a significant step forward for a club also trying to persuade Robin van Persie to extend his contract.
The fee required to secure M'Vila is likely to set a club record by surpassing the approximately £15m needed to lure Andrey Arshavin away from Zenit St. Petersburg in 2009.
Rennes sit in fifth place in the Ligue 1 table, with M'Vila having made 36 league appearances for the club during the 2011-12 campaign.