• Midfielder played four years at Arsenal before joining Milan
• Inquiries made for Real's Karim Benzema, Angel Di María
Arsène Wenger is poised to bring back the former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini as a free agent and the player could come into contention for the Premier League fixture at Fulham on Saturday.
Arsenal are determined to make eye-catching signings before the close of the summer window on 2 September and they have made inquiries about the Real Madrid attacking players Karim Benzema and Angel Di María, among others, while they have had a £10m offer for the Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye rejected.
But Wenger's next signing is set to be a familiar face as he calls upon an ex-player for the fourth time in five seasons. He has previously given short-term contracts to Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry.
Flamini, 29, was released at the end of last season by Milan and he has been working at Arsenal's London Colney training ground for the past two weeks. Wenger admitted after the 3-0 Champions League play-off first-leg win at Fenerbahce on Wednesday night that, with Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby out with long-term injuries, he was short "number-wise" in midfield.
He feels that Flamini ticks plenty of boxes, having Premier League experience, top-level quality and the ability to play in several positions. Flamini, who signed for Arsenal from Marseille in 2004, departed for Milan in 2008 on a Bosman free, after he and the club could not agree a new contract. The Frenchman won the Serie A title in 2011.
Flamini has had offers from other clubs this summer. If he is to be eligible for the Fulham game, the paperwork on his deal must be completed by midday on Friday.