Arsenal have identified Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet as the ideal man to fill Aaron Ramsey’s boots when he departs for Juventus in June.
The Welshman’s time at Emirates Stadium will come to an end this summer after 11 years at the club, with a pre-contract agreement already in place with the Italian champions.
Ramsey will move to Turin on a free transfer, after failing to agree on terms for a contract extension at Arsenal earlier in the season, which has left the club searching frantically for his replacement.
According to The Sun, Cagliari playmaker Nicolo Barella had been top of Unai Emery’s list of transfer targets, but the Gunners are reluctant to meet the £43 million asking price for the player.
The Sun reports that Arsenal are now aiming to seal the bargain £21.5 million transfer of Praet instead, having sent scouts to watch him in action for Sampdoria against Lazio over the weekend.
The Gunners will have limited funds to spend on new players if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which is why they must be more selective when it comes to picking out potential new recruits.
Praet is an orthodox centre-midfielder with impressive dribbling skills and technical ability in spades, combined with a penchant for breaking up play in the middle of the park and joining in attacks in the final third.
He has starred in 30 Serie A matches for Sampdoria this season, contributing just two goals and two assists, but at 24-years-old, there is plenty of scope for him to raise those numbers as he approaches the prime years of his career.
Arsenal signed Lucas Torreira from the Italian outfit last summer and he has been a huge success at the Emirates, earning a regular spot in Emery’s starting line up after a slow start to the season.
Supporters will hope that Praet can follow in his old team-mate’s footsteps, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can have the same impact for the Gunners as Ramsey has for over a decade if this particular deal goes through later in the year.