ARSENAL are being linked with an "imminent" £36.5million bid for main target Houssem Aouar.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta still hopes to offload fringe stars to boost his bid for the Lyon playmaker.
And Telefoot Chaine in Aouar's native France suggest Arteta is now ready to make his first major move for the 22-year-old.
Manchester City and Juventus were also said to be big admirers of the Under-21 international earlier this summer.
But Arsenal are now clear front-runners.
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Having sold second-choice keeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa for £20m, Arteta wants to add at least one more top-class signing to Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes.
That means the Emirates' futures of Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac are even more uncertain.
It is thought Arsenal would also consider selling striker Alexandre Lacazette and French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.
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Meanwhile, Dijon's Iceland keeper Runar Alex Runarsson is expected to arrive as Martinez's £15m replacement.
Versatile defender Rob Holding is tipped to stay, despite continuing loan interest from West Ham.
And Ainsley Maitland-Niles' stunning improvement has persuaded Arteta into a U-turn after the newly-capped England wideman appeared certain to move on just weeks ago.
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