Arsenal have moved in to pole position to sign Gonzalo Higuain and have tabled a club-record bid in excess of £20m for the Real Madrid striker.
The Gunners are desperate to add to their strike force this summer and Higuain is their number one target, however interest in the Argentina international from Juventus looked likely to scupper the deal.
Juventus have been in negotiations with Real over a deal for Higuain but are so far refusing to increase their bid of £18.7m for the 25-year-old.
Real are understood to be demanding at least £25.5m and although president Florentino Perez was quoted last week claiming that Juve’s offer would be insufficient, sources remain adamant a deal could be done at around that price.
The Gunners have a well-publicised warchest in excess of £70m to spend and can outbid Juve, who while also remaining interested in Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, are now thought to have lowered their sights to cheaper alternatives including Tevez.
The 29-year-old is entering the final year of his contract at Manchester City and would command a fee of no more than £10m should talks with new boss Manuel Pellegrini conclude with his departure.
That leaves Arsenal as the sole serious bidders in their battle to sign Higuain. Arsene Wenger has tabled a club record bid in excess of £20m in an attempt to make the forward Arsenal’s first major summer signing.
The fee easily surpasses Arsenal’s previous highest transfer — £15m paid to Zenit St Petersburg for Andrey Arshavin in January 2009 — and underlines the seriousness with which the club are determined to act this summer.
However, Higuain’s situation is complicated by the ongoing uncertainty over the managerial situation at the Bernabeu.
Real are yet to confirm Jose Mourinho’s successor with Paris St-Germain reluctant to allow Carlo Ancelotti to leave until they have found their own replacement .Ancelotti is expected to take over at some point but the former Chelsea manager will want to assess his new squad before he allows Higuain to depart. Arsenal are keen to tie the deal up before the players return for pre-season training on July 4.
Internazionale president Massimo Moratti claims Tottenham are interested in a move for Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin, while Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny has been linked with a move to Barcelona after they gave up on Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.
Zinedine Zidane has urged Gareth Bale to hand in a transfer request in order to speed up a move to Real Madrid. Borussia Dortmund's general manager, Hans-Joachim Watzke has said Robert Lewandowski will "definitely be playing" for the club this season, despite interest from Manchester United and Bayern Munich.