Arsenal have emerged as the favourites to complete a deal for Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who has less than one-year remaining on his contract.

The Gunners managed to convince Olivier Giroud to leave the French champions last summer in a deal worth £13million, and it seems they will once again attempt to sign a player who played a vital role for Montpellier last season.

Mapou Yanga- Mbiwa
Mbiwa is in the last year of his contract and could leave next summer on a free transfer [Reuters] Reuters

The Sun has reported that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was keen to sign the central defender in the summer, only to be told by the club that he was not for sale.

AC Milan then had an offer of £6million rejected and upon learning of the interest from both Arsenal and the Italian giants, Yanga-Mbiwa made the decision not to renew his contract.

This leaves the defender the chance to begin talking with other clubs in January and he could even sign a pre-contract with a club outside of France at the start of next year.

The 23-year-old came through the youth academy at Montpellier and became a regular starter in the side five seasons ago. He has since made close to 200 appearances for the club and played an instrumental role in helping the side win the Ligue 1 title.

His performances last season caught the eye of then France manager Laurent Blanc who named him in his preliminary Euro2012 squad - though he was later dropped from the final 23.

However, he has now made his debut for France and is considered by new manager Didier Deschamps to be an important part of the squad.

He played both World Cup qualifiers against Finland and Belarus earlier this month, while he is expected to appear against Arsenal on Tuesday night when Montpellier host the north London club in a Champions League group game.

Should he decide not to renew his contract then Arsenal would be able to sign him on a free transfer next summer.