Arsenal have had Dick Law, their chief transfer negotiator, in Germany to explore the possibility of a January deal for Schalke's Julian Draxler.
The London club are more likely to get the attacking midfielder in the summer but Law's attendance for talks with Schalke reflects the desire to do business before the winter window closes on Friday night.
Draxler's contract contains a £37m buy-out clause and Arsenal are not happy to pay that, believing it is too high for a 20-year-old who is not yet the finished article. But there is the feeling at Arsenal that there could be room for manoeuvre with Schalke.
Draxler plays primarily as a left-sided winger but he can also operate across the line behind the striker. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has plenty of options in the area, although he does have injury concerns, chiefly to Theo Walcott, who is out for the season with a cruciate knee ligament rupture.
Aaron Ramsey has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a thigh strain; Wenger was also without Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (nose) for the 2-2 draw at Southampton on Tuesday night, while the more defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini will begin a four-match ban for his red card late in the game.
Draxler has been injured since the middle of December but he hopes to be back in action next month. He has suffered from an ankle problem.