Arsenal have emerged as the favourites to sign Real Betis playmaker Nabil Fekir in the summer transfer window, according to reports.
The Gunners look set to be in the market for an attacking midfielder once again, with Martin Odegaard in line to return to parent club Real Madrid at the end of the season.
The north London club are said to be keen on signing the Norway international on a permanent deal, but Los Blancos are reportedly unwilling to consider the prospect of losing him for good.
This has led Arsenal director Edu to pursue other options, with Fekir among those to have been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.
The 27-year-old has impressed for Betis this season, providing three goals and six assists to help the Andalusian club stay in the fight for Europa League qualification.
He is also a long-term target for Liverpool, who tried to sign him during the summer of 2018 but saw the proposed move fall through at the eleventh hour.
Although the Reds are, like Arsenal, in need of additional creativity in the middle of the park, the Gunners appear to be in the driving seat for Fekir’s signature.
The report states that Arteta is a huge admirer of Fekir and could order a move for his services at the end of the season.
The midfielder, who can also play on either wing if needed, has recently joined the stable of athletes at Promeosport, a Spanish sports agency company that counts Wolves forward Adama Traore and Eric Bailly of Manchester United among its list of clients.
It is claimed that this move has elevated the possibility of a summer switch to England.
Fekir was not called up by Dider Deschamps to the latest France squad for this month’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with his international future seemingly in doubt for as long as he remains at Betis.
He could look to seek a new challenge at the end of the season in order to maintain his ambition of making the final cut for next year’s tournament in Qatar.
However, Betis are unlikely to be willing to sell their star man and could hold out for a big-money bid if Arsenal or Liverpool decide to act on their interests.
According to Estadio Deportivo, Fekir has a release clause of £77million written into his contract at Betis.
This suggests that the Gunners would need to shell out a significant wedge in order to tempt the La Liga hopefuls into parting ways.
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It remains to be seen whether Fekir will be allowed to leave for anything less than his release clause at the end of the season.
Arsenal have been linked with a number of creative players over the past year, including Houssem Aouar and Jack Grealish.
However, it appears as though Fekir could now be their primary target ahead of next season, with a successful permanent move for Odegaard looking increasingly unlikely.