Andre Ayew
Ayew is a target for Arsenal. REUTERS

Arsenal have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Andre Ayew, with Marseille admitting they are in the market for a player who can replace the star while he is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

In October, Arsene Wenger admitted that he is keeping an eye on Ayew, with the Gunners manager telling the official website: "I like the player but we didn't approach him."

While Wenger insisted that he has enough wingers and midfielders to create depth within the squad, but with Jack Wilshere still injured, and a hole still existent from the exits of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Wenger may decide that he needs more back up in the middle of the pitch.

Ayew has long been considered to be an integral part at Marseille, and to stave off interest from clubs like Arsenal, the star signed a contract extension of one year, keeping him committed to the French outfit until 2015. But that won't stop big clubs from continuing to monitor the 22 year old, particularly with Marseille currently looking likely to miss out on Champions League qualification next season.

And with the Ghana international set to head to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, club chairman Vincent Labrune told L'Equipe that more players will be purchased to compete for Ayew's position.

"The club's priority for the winter transfer market is to replace those players who will leave for the African Cup of Nations, most notably Andre Ayew," Labrune said.

"We don't have cover for him in our group as yet.

"We want to find two players that can really bring something to our squad.

"We will use the winter market to try and bring in players who will help us to reach our target of finishing in the top three."

While support will be needed in Marseille in the midfield while Ayew is away, the £8.5 million rated star returns he may find it difficult to get back into the regular first team. And teams like Arsenal will be watching closely to see how the situation pans out, as Wenger finalises his wishlist for the fast approaching January transfer window.