Arsenal are reported to have made their first move to try and sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace by offering cash plus three players for the Ivory Coast winger.
Zaha has enjoyed an outstanding season for the Eagles, where he scored 10 goals in 36 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s side.
But Zaha revealed last month that he wants to be playing Champions League football next season, leaving Palace with little choice but to let him move on.
However, the Eagles value the 26-year-old at between £65m – £80m – which just falls within Unai Emery’s estimated budget of £75m this summer.
But that figure will only apply to Emery if Arsenal win the Europa League final against Chelsea on Wednesday week and thus qualify for the Champions League next season. Defeat to Chelsea will see his budget cut to just £45m.
Either way, Arsenal are unwilling to match Palace’s £80m asking price for Zaha, but, according to The Sun on Sunday, the Gunners have offered the Eagles £40m cash, plus Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson and Carl Jenkinson.
And the paper claims Emery is willing to stay patient in his efforts to sign Zaha, believing the Eagles will struggle to recoup anywhere near their £80m asking price for the mercurial winger.
With Liverpool and Man City not interested and Chelsea facing the prospect of a transfer ban, Tottenham look like being Arsenal’s biggest domestic rivals to sign Zaha this summer.
It was also claimed last month that Palace would prefer to sell their star man to a European-based Champions League side this summer for fear of strengthening their direct rivals. Both Borussia Dortmund and PSG have been mentioned as suitors.
Wherever he ends up, it seems Zaha’s time at Palace is over, with the winger explaining why he needs to move on this summer.
“I have to experience the Champions League. I just need the opportunity, that’s it, and I’ll do the rest,” Zaha told the Daily Mail.
“It gives me goosebumps seeing the crowds, amazing stadiums.
“When I’m seeing players I think, ‘What would I do in that predicament?’
“I feel I can get to that stage, with the confidence I have and belief in my ability. I should be there. I’m missing out. I don’t just want to be at home watching it.
“Real players, when the time comes, it’s that big stage, they’re the ones that step up. I want to be that player in the big game.”
Whether that’s at Arsenal, however, remains to be seen.