Arsenal are tracking St Etienne midfielder Joshua Guilavogui, according to the Mail Online. The report claims the north Londoners will move for the 22-year-old if they fail to sign Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye.
The report also claims Arsene Wenger is monitoring Manchester City's Gareth Barry as another alternative. The Gunners are short of numbers in the centre of the park, with Spaniard Mikel Arteta injured and England international Jack Wilshere struggling with his fitness levels.
Wenger's first choice target, however, is Cabaye. And the Emirates boss has seen a first bid knocked back by Alan Pardew. The Magpies say they will not negotiate below the £20m mark and while Wenger is expected to return with a figure closer to that valuation, he will have to move fast. The Independent believes Ligue 1 champions Paris St Germain (PSG) have registered their interest and are willing to meet Newcastle's valuation.
Pardew has made the Tyneside club's position very clear, saying: "The bottom line with a world class player is he has to go for world-class money."
Should PSG beat Arsenal to Cabaye, Guilavogui could be a reasonable substitute although not probably one likely to appease irate fans who have been demanding a marquee signing. The French youngster made Ligue 1 starts last season, scoring thrice and creating two goals.
Meanwhile, another rumoured Arsenal target has moved to distance himself from speculation surrounding a move to the Emirates. German international Mesut Ozil has denied reports he wants to leave Real Madrid, following rumours of a triple swoop for Santiago Bernabeu stars Ozil, Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema.
"I have a contract with Real Madrid and I am staying here. A lot has been written in the media about other teams but I have the coach's confidence and I feel very good... it is a pleasure and an honour to play for Real Madrid," Ozil said.
The playmaker's statement adds to Wenger's transfer woes, following a declaration by Benzema's agent that the France international was not interested in a move to Arsenal. That leaves only Argentina international di Maria. The former Benfica player will likely be the most directly affected if Madrid land Welsh international Gareth Bale from Tottenham. However, di Maria's on-field partnership with Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo means Florentino Perez may think twice about selling the Argentine.