Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi is likely to move to Arsenal during the summer transfer window after the Gunners made an approach to the player to secure his services, according to reports in Spain.
The Champions League winners signed the 24-year-old midfielder in the summer of 2013 as a long-term replacement for former Liverpool holding midfielder Xabi Alonso.
Illaramendi came through the youth ranks at Real Sociedad and garnered a reputation as one of the most promising stars to emerge from the Spanish academy. And just before his move to Real Madrid, he was a member of Spain's 2013 European Under-21 Championship-winning team.
Real Madrid did not hesitate to meet his Real Sociedad buyout clause, of around €39m (£29m). However, Illaramendi has since failed to make the impact expected at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Having only started three La Liga games during the first part of the current campaign, reports in Spain claim Los Blancos are ready to part ways with him and they are imminently expected to complete the signing of Brazilian star Lucas Silva to replace him.
Marca claims Athletic Bilbao have already given Real Madrid an offer of around £20m to secure Illaramendi during the current transfer window.
But the Spanish newspaper reports that even though Los Blancos are considering the offer, Illarramendi is not thrilled at the prospect of going to Bilbao – Real Sociedad's big enemy – as he would rather to wait until the summer to join Arsenal instead.
Marca said: "Arsenal have already made an approach to the player," but Gunners manager Arsene Wenger wants him to join in the summer rather than in the current transfer window.
"Illarra has a proposal on the table from Wenger's side and going to London and to the Premier League is an adventure that he would accept without thinking," Marca said, and added: "But this option would be for June and still have to be iron as Arsenal have already approached the player but the club are yet to negotiate the deal."
The Gunners recently signed 17-year-old Krystian Bielik and are negotiating a new deal for Francis Coquelin. However, captain Mikel Arteta's future at the club is uncertain, as his contract is due to expire in the summer, and Illarramendi could eventually fill his void.
Meanwhile, Illaramendi has admitted his future at Real Madrid is up in the air following the imminent arrival of Lucas Silva. He said: "As it stands I don't know if Silva has signed or not. If he comes or they speak to me, I'll consider something. Today I'm only thinking about the next game against Córdoba.
"I'm really comfortable at the club. Madrid have not informed me of anything. As it stands I'm a Real Madrid player and I want to stay".