Gunners switch midfield targets from Schalke star to Atleti hero.
Premier League leaders Arsenal are hoping to be able to make a stunning last-gasp move for in-demand Atletico de Madrid midfielder Koke after the north London club finally gave up in their long-running pursuit of Schalke 04 star Julian Draxler.
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The Gunners had been closely tracking the coveted Germany international for the past 12 months, with the club originally hoping to be able to negotiate a deal for the 20-year-old before the January transfer window closed for business for the season at midnight on Friday.
However, a combination of both a recent ankle tendon injury picked up by Draxler and now the insistence of his club that Arsenal pay the full value of the buyout clause in his contract – which is worth a whopping £37m – has resulted in Gunners head coach Arsene Wenger switching his midfield focus elsewhere.
And the player that the experienced Frenchman is now said to be targeting is Atletico’s highly rated Spain international, a midfielder with a real eye for goal who has shit to prominence in the course of the past year under the watchful guidance of Argentinian trainer Diego Simeone.
Koke, 22, has been at the Vincente Calderon for his entire career to date, netting 11 times in his 143 outings for the club, including four strikes and nine assists already in just his 21 league contests for the Spaniards so far in this campaign.
And it is understood that the north Londoners are preparing a massive £30m bid for Koke which would trigger his release clause in his current deal in the Spanish capital, with Wenger hoping that the transfer can now be completed before the window closes at the end of the week.
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