Arsenal have stepped up their interest in signing Lille forward Sofiane Boufal this summer who is expected to be available for a fee in the range of €25m (£20m, $28m). The Gunners will face feisty competition from Spain in the form of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with league rivals Chelsea also believed to be interested.
The Guardian reports that the north London club have been scouting the striker since last January and are looking to tie down a deal for the player, especially with Jamie Vardy's move to Arsenal on the verge of breaking down, as per Arsene Wenger's own admission. The striker is likely to sign a new contract with Leicester City after the Euros, leaving the Gunners to look for other options in the market.
Boufal's agent confirmed that they are already in the market talking to a few clubs and have spoken to Barcelona regarding a move to Camp Nou. He also stated that there have been talks with other clubs, insinuating the involvement of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who is currently on international duty with Italy.
"We did have a meeting with the leadership of FC Barcelona in the last few weeks. There is an interest," Yvan Le Mée told Le10 sport. "Now the reflection is whether Sofiane Boufal will go to Barcelona to compete with MSN (Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar) or should he go to a club where he is going to start matches and express his exceptional talent.
"We have also initiated discussions with three other clubs that interest us, but they either have or will change their coach or the coach is in charge of a national team at the Euros. In England, there is interest, but the English market is just beginning. A transfer of 20 and 25 million euros is not resolved in two weeks, of course," he added.
The Moroccan is comfortable playing out wide or as a number 10 and will add some much needed guile to Arsenal's ranks, which needs some infusion of talent this summer to elevate them as title challengers. He is currently out injured since May, but that is unlikely to be any hindrance from that side in completing the transfer.