Arsenal have opened preliminary talks with Lyon over midfielder Maxime Gonalons after making him their number one summer transfer target.
Gonalons has been a long-term target for Arsene Wenger’s side and have watched the tough tackling midfielder on several occasions this season.
And now, according to reports in France, Arsenal have approached Lyon to dicuss a transfer ahead of a possible deal at the end of the season.
It is thought that Wenger has asked the Ligue 1 club to name their price for the 23-year-old is rated highly in France and is considered as one of the best midfielders around.
Lyon are said to be willing to cash in on one of their star assests if their £14million valuation is met by an overseas club.
Adding a new midfielder to the Gunners ranks in the summer is one of Wenger’s top priorities, with Abou Diaby continuing to suffer from a run of injury problems, while the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona has left them without an orthodox holding player.
If Arsenal want to seriously challenge for the league title next season they will need to bolster both their midfield and attacking options. The sale of Robin Van Persie last summer evaporated any hopes of winning their first league title since 2004.
Gonalons’ is tied down to a deal at Lyon until 2016.