Arsenal are preparing an £85 million bid in an attempt to beat Manchester United to the signing of Antoine Griezmann, according to the Mail on Sunday.
United are reported to have already held talks with Griezmann’s representatives and are said to have thrashed out the finer points of the deal, including the 25-year-old’s salary and potential squad number.
The Premier League giants are thought to be increasingly confident of landing the forward, who they believe to be a natural heir apparent to the club’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney.
Atletico Madrid’s manager Diego Simeone gave United encouragement earlier this month when he said he wouldn’t stand in the way of the France international, should he look to seek a new challenge in the summer.
But Arsenal, along with a host of elite European clubs, are now expected to challenge Jose Mourinho’s side for Griezmann’s services, with the Gunners prepared to trigger the former Real Sociedad man’s release clause.
The north London club are wary of the precarious contract situation involving their two star players, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and are already making contingency plans should the pair refuse to commit the peak years of their career to the club.
Arsenal are already said to be monitoring Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus and would be ready to pay £51 million for the Germany international.
Arsene Wenger monitored Griezmann’s situation last summer but admitted defeat when he signed a new contract with the Spanish side until 2021.