Atlético de Madrid believes it can sign Samir Nasri from under the nose of Arsenal by making a bid to Marseille now and then holding talks with the player after Euro 2008.
The French starlet is seen as Zinedine Zidane's heir and was expected to continue his football education at the Emirates, but with no deal having yet been sealed competition is growing.
In Spain, there is a growing belief that Atlético now has the power to attract a higher class of player having qualified for the Champions League and signing Nasri would be seen as something of a coup.
Arsenal is reported to have offered Marseille $23 million for the 20-year-old and proposed a four-year contract to him and everything looked set to be in place for the transfer to be completed.
However, the European Championship has put the final negotiations on hold and Arsène Wenger admitted that he was going to have to wait until after the tournament to see if he finally signed his man.
While the Frenchman may have the advantage of his contacts in Ligue 1, Atlético could offer more money to both Marseille and Nasri and the promise of regular first-team football.