Emirates Stadium side lead the race to capture Nou Camp wide-man.
Arsenal are reportedly hot on the heels of Barcelona winger Ibrahim Afellay with Arsene Wenger looking to make the long term target his first signing of what may well prove to be a very busy summer for the Gunners boss.
The 26 year old Dutch international has failed to make much of an impact during a season long loan spell at Schalke and will be made available for a permanent Barcelona exit at the end of the current campaign and Wenger will then make his interest known.
The former PSV Eindhoven man has long been linked with a move to the North London club and Wenger is keen to bring in the creative talent to boost his attack and believes he can pick up the player for a relatively low price and will open the bidding with an offer in the region of £6m.
Lazio, Inter and Lyon are known to be interested in Afellay but Wenger feels confident he can see off other interested parties to win the race to sign the Utrecht born attacker.
Barcelona signed Afellay in cut price move back in January 2011, making the most of the fact that PSV wanted to avoid losing the wide-man on a free in the summer, but the flair player failed to force his way into the Catalan side’s first team set-up and was subsequently farmed out to the Bundesliga with the hope of getting his career back on track.
At Schalke Afellay has managed just eight Bundesliga starts but did manage a Champions League goal against Arsenal, which will have further piqued Arsene Wenger’s interest.
During his two years at Barcelona Afellay has managed just eight La Liga starts and may well be tempted by the chance to kick-start his career with Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger is keen to strengthen his wide attacking roles, especially as he looks to convert Theo Walcott into a striking option. Moves to bring in Afellay may well also be with a view to considering offers for Ivory Coast international Gervinho, who has proved something of a disappointment since his move to the club from Lille.