Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their interest in Norwich City midfielder Emiliano Buendia with the Gunners keen to see off competition to make him their first signing of the summer.

Mikel Arteta is aware that his team have a dearth of creativity in the middle of the park. The Spanish manager had the services of Martin Odegaard on a six-month loan from Real Madrid, but he has returned to Spain leaving a void yet again.

Buendia is seen as the ideal long-term fit in the number 10 role and according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal's new director of football Richard Garlick wants to make the midfielder his first signing of the summer. Norwich value the Argentine playmaker at £40 million, but are expecting opening bids of around £35 million plus add-ons.

Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano backed up the report by claiming that Arsenal have reopened talks with Buendia's agents. They were previously in contact with the Norwich midfielder's representatives in December ahead of the winter transfer window.

"Emiliano Buendia is one of the options that Arsenal are seriously considering as a potential new signing. He's appreciated and AFC board have re-started contacts with his agents after opening talks in December," Romano wrote.

The 24-year-old, who was named the Championship Player of the Season after his 15 goals and 17 assists helped Norwich return to the Premier League, has admitted that he is ready to make a step up. The midfielder believes interest from bigger clubs shows that he is doing his job well.

"You always dream of being at the highest level and in the best teams in England, Spain and Europe," Buendia told Metro, when asked about the speculations surrounding his future. "You dream of challenging for titles, it is an ambition that I have."

"It's a source of pride that important clubs are interested in you as it means that you are doing things well and it provides motivation to continue working and one day achieve it."

Arsenal, however, will have their work cut out to land the attacking midfielder with reports claiming that Aston Villa are also on his tail and so are newly crowned La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal Jon Super/POOL