Arsenal fight United for Gundogan
Arsenal are ready to challenge Manchester United for the signature of Ilkay Gundogan after the midfielder confirmed he would not be signing a new contract at Borussia Dortmund.
Gundogan's deal is due to expire in 2016, meaning Dortmund will be forced to accept bids of around £20m for the 24-year-old this summer, which comfortably falls into the budgets of both United and Arsenal.
United have already expressed an interest in Gundogan and tried to sign him in the past, while Arsenal have the player on a list of midfield targets.
With the emergence of Francis Coquelin as a traditional defensive midfielder who sits in front of the defence, Arsenal want a more dynamic player who can track back but also get up the pitch.
Morgan Schneiderlin, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, is another option, with Southampton valueing the Frenchman at around £25m.
Chelsea have also watched Schneiderlin and Tottenham Hotspur hold a long-term interest.
Gundogan is a player Arsenal scouts have admired for some time and would perfectly fit the role manager Arsene Wenger wants to fill.
The Germany international suffers from spondylolisthesis, a deformity in his lower back that can lead to hamstring injuries, and he was sidelined for over a year. But since the winter break, he has eased fears over his long-term fitness by starting 16 of Dortmund's 18 games.
With a midfielder poised to come into the Emirates during the summer, Arsenal will allow Mathieu Flamini to leave and have warned 33-year-old club captain Mikel Arteta that he will have to be happy with a squad role if he accepts the offer of a one-year extension to his contract.
Right-back Mathieu Debuchy is set to miss Arsenal's game against Hull on Monday after suffering a hamstring injury in training.
Meanwhile, Wenger has claimed that he used to have a "firebomb" temper, but insists he has mellowed as a manager despite his touchline clash with Jose Mourinho this season.
Wenger said: "I was an absolute firebomb. I was absolutely mad!
"You learn to express your ideas better with time, to anticipate problems better. I have learnt to dominate my devils. I am not sure I have mellowed in my resolute attitude, but in the way I express my feelings and beliefs, certainly I have changed." (© Daily Telegraph, London)