Atlético Madrid have reportedly agreed terms with Santi Cazorla, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. The publication believes the Vicente Calderon side's general manager, Miguel Angel Gil Marin is in London to discuss a fee with the Gunners.
The Mail Online believes the Spanish capital's second club will offer Arsene Wenger £17.5m for the 28-year-old Spanish international. The Real Oviedo youth graduate joined Arsenal from La Liga side Malaga 12 months ago and has had a storming first season in the Premier League, with 12 goals and 11 assists from 37 starts.
The attacking midfielder is presently on an extended vacation after representing Spain during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup last month. Left-back Nacho Monreal, Cazorla's team mate from La Rosaleda is also on a break.
The two are expected to return to north London at the end of the month, after the first team completes the ongoing Asia Tour.
Despite the reports, it is difficult to imagine how Wenger could sanction the sale of Cazorla. The midfielder was one of his best players last season, if not the best, and largely responsible for securing fourth place and a berth in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League this season, at the expense of local rivals Tottenham.
However, Atlético believe they can persuade Wenger and Arsenal to release the Spaniard, given the focus on signing world-class stars like Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain and Liverpool's Luis Suarez. Finances are unlikely to be an issue for either club, with the Spaniards pocketing a reported £50m from the sale of Colombian international Radamel Falcao to Monaco and Arsenal with £70m in the bank to spend on new signings.
In addition, despite Wenger's icon status at the Emirates, it is unlikely even his most ardent fans will forgive him for selling yet another key member of the first team, following the sales of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Alex Song over the past two seasons.
To sell Cazorla now, particularly when club officials are trying hard to present an image of a football side committed to winning trophies would be suicidal.
The good news for Arsenal fans is Cazorla has given no indication of wanting a move. The Spaniard told the club's website, in June, he was eager to start the new season and hoped to win his first trophy for the supporters.
"We've put in a spectacular run-in and you can see the difference in mentality. We have great players. I'm sure next season we'll be a better team - it's clear this squad has plenty of potential to improve. [We want] to fight for trophies. Next season, we hope we can be even better. I hope I can keep developing, too," he told www.arsenal.com in June.
Nevertheless, the reports say Atlético are undaunted and believe the signing of Spain striker David Villa, understood to be on excellent terms with Cazorla, could persuade the midfielder to rethink.