Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of Emiliano Buendia as they look at alternatives to Martin Odegaard this summer.
The Gunners are long-term admirers of the Norwich playmaker and have watched him on countless occasions during his three-year spell at Carrow Road.
And they are now preparing to firm up that interest, with Mikel Arteta keen to add another creative player to his squad ahead of the 2021-22 season.
What’s the latest?
Arsenal are yet to make an official offer for Buendia, but he has moved to the top of their list of playmaker targets as discussions inside the club ramp up ahead of the summer transfer window.
Odegaard has spent the second half of this season on loan in north London from Real Madrid and Arteta is hopeful he can keep the Norway international for at least another year.
But Odegaard’s future remains unclear, with Madrid expected to give him an opportunity next season should current boss Zinedine Zidane move on at the end of the campaign.
So Arsenal are looking at other options, with Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir on their list of possible targets, but Goal has learnt that technical director Edu has started to step up the club’s interest in Buendia, who is keen on making the move to north London.
One of Arsenal’s priorities this summer is to add more creativity to a squad that has struggled to break teams down this season.
And they view Buendia, who has just been named the Championship’s player of the season, as someone who could come in and make a real difference during the 2021-22 campaign.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed an exceptional season and played a major role in Norwich winning the Championship by six points.
In 39 appearances he scored 15 goals and contributed 17 assists, more than any other player in the division.
He also created more big chances than anyone in the Championship, completed more through balls and completed more passes in the final third.
How much would he cost?
Arsenal have yet to table an offer for Buendia and Norwich are believed to want around £40 million for the attacking midfielder, who has three years remaining on his contract and has just been called up by Argentina.
Speaking earlier this month about the prospect of selling Buendia, Norwich boss Daniel Farke said: “Of course if one of the best clubs in the world wants Emi as a starter and makes an unbelievable offer then it could be a realistic solution for all parties.
“If there is a club who want to put some crazy offers out then maybe you use this to help the club in the future, but as a head coach my first thought is to work further on with our key players.”