Arsenal have submitted an offer of £16m to Málaga for Santi Cazorla and are confident of making him their third signing of the summer, while also closing in on a season-long loan deal for Real Madrid's Nuri Sahin.
Arsène Wenger has tracked Cazorla since the beginning of last summer, but the Arsenal manager was deterred from making a firm move for the Spain midfielder by his price tag. Cazorla left Villarreal for Málaga in a €19m (£15m) deal, while Wenger took Mikel Arteta from Everton at the last moment for £10m to bolster his midfield. Wenger, though, has come to see the value in Cazorla, an all-round midfielder who is capable of playing wide or centrally, and the Frenchman is hopeful of completing the deal after he and the Arsenal squad return from their tour of the Far East. They play their third and final match against Kitchee in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Cazorla has agreed personal terms in principle with Arsenal and the sense that the deal is close has been reinforced by events at Málaga in recent days as the club's problems with debt threaten their participation in La Liga. The club's Qatari owner, Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani, sent the executive Moayad Shatat to Spain last Thursday to resolve the raft of problems, among them Cazorla's future.
At the same time, the Málaga manager, Manuel Pellegrini, said that selling Cazorla for €20m would amount to "giving him away". Shatat was supposed to offer immediate reassurances but worryingly for Pellegrini and Málaga he has said nothing and it emerged on Saturday night, according to reports in Spain, that he was investigating the sale of the club. Cazorla has not gone on the Venezuela tour, although he was never going to after his exertions for Spain at Euro 2012.
Arsenal, who have already signed the strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, are in talks with Madrid over Sahin. José Mourinho, who signed the the Turkey midfielder from Borussia Dortmund last summer, has suggested that it would be better if he looked for a fresh opportunity in light of his struggles to establish himself at the Bernabéu. The 23-year-old Sahin was not happy to hear that and he is not yet entirely sold on the proposed loan move, particularly as there is no option for Arsenal to buy him at the end of it.
He travelled with the Madrid squad to the United States morning for their pre-season tour, which presents Arsenal with a logistical difficulty, but the London club remain hopeful of convincing him to join them. They want to have both Cazorla and Sahin available for their final pre-season friendly away to Köln on 12 August.