Arsenal are considering a £15m bid for Barcelona striker David Villa, according to the Mirror. The Spanish side are believed to be ready to accept offers for the 31-year-old, so long as it is a permanent move and not a loan approach.
Arsene Wenger's first priority, though, will be the sale of fringe and unwanted players from his first team. These include Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh, Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin and central defenders Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou.
The Gunners have already confirmed the loan of Chamakh to West Ham United and the Mirror reports that Arshavin is negotiating a move to the Madejski and Reading. Djourou, meanwhile, has attracted attention from Hannover 96 and will probably join the Germans on loan. French defender Squillaci remains available on a free transfer but no interest has been reported in the 32-year-old.
It is believed the cash (transfer fees and salaries) freed up from the sale of these four players will be used to sign World Cup and European Championship-winning David Villa from the Catalans.
Meanwhile, there is also Theo Walcott's situation to consider. The 23-year-old England international has still to sign a contract extension with the Emirates and the latest reports make no mention of any progress between the club and the player's representatives.
Should Walcott (who is now free to speak to foreign clubs over a pre-contract summer move) announce he is leaving the north London club, it will leave Wenger with only summer signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski as strikers. The Gunners do have Danish international Nicklas Bendtner on the books, but the 24-year-old is on loan at Italian champions Juventus and has been as impressive in Serie A as he was in the Premier League, raising doubts over his Arsenal future.
Wenger has already missed out on Senegalese international Demba Ba, who completed his transfer to Arsenal's west London rivals Chelsea earlier this week. The 27-year-old former Newcastle United forward is likely to make his Blues' debut this weekend, in the FA Cup clash at Southampton.
In addition, Arsenal have been linked to two more Spanish international strikers - Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao and Adrian Lopez of Atletico Madrid. The former has begun negotiations with Juventus, according to the Guardian, while talks with the Vicente Calderon outfit over the transfer of Lopez to Arsenal are still ongoing, according to Goal.com.
Villa, a former Valencia and Sporting Gijon striker, has also been linked with English champions Manchester City and European champions Chelsea, as well as Liverpool and Tottenham since the opening of the mid-season window.