Arsene Wenger keen to bring Italian international to replace Emirates Stadium captain if he fails to prevent Nou Camp move.
Arsenal are interested in Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo.
Fiorentina management concede they expect to sell Montolivo this summer after the Italy international refused to open new contract talks.
The midfielder is viewed by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as a potential replacement for unsettled skipper Cesc Fabregas.
Sources have stated that Arsene Wenger is ready to offer as much as £12m to sign the Fiorentina midfielder, which is a fairly inflated price given that the Italian international will be free to leave for nothing next summer. The 26 year old former Atalanta man has been dubbed the “Italian Fabregas” by some and Montolivo would in many ways be the ideal man to replace the Spaniard if he does indeed complete his move back to Barcelona this summer.
Fiorentina have been locked in a stalemate with their club captain over a new contract which Montolivo steadfastly refuses to sign and boss Sinisa Mihajlovi? will have to decide whether it is better to cash in on the box to box midfielder or to keep his prized asset for another season against his wishes, a situation Arsene Wenger finds himself in with Samir Nasri.
Montolivo has been a virtual ever present at the Stadio Artemio Franchi for the past five seasons and two mid table finishes have left the Fiorentina man wanting to move on to pastures new and is reportedly interested in a move to the Premier League though both Inter MIlan and AC Milan are said to also be monitoring the situation.
Wenger could of course opt to use Welsh international Aaron Ramsey as a replacement if Fabregas leaves but clearly Riccardo Montolivo is a far more experienced campaigner and the type of ambitious signing the club’s supporters would clearly like to see the Gunners make.
After six seasons without tangible success Arsene Wenger knows that he needs to make changes to his squad and the Frenchman has already snapped up Gervinho from Lille and has a number of other reported targets but also plans on trimming some deadwood.
He will look to offload Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner and will reportedly listen to offers for Abou Diaby, Sebastien Squillaci and Emmanuel Eboue.