Arsenal's pursuit of Russian star Aleksandr Golovin could be hijacked by former manager Arsene Wenger upon his return to club management.
The 22-year-old was linked with a move to the Emirates last summer but a transfer never materialised, but Wenger's admiration for the playmaker remained as he identified him as CSKA Moscow's biggest threat during the two clubs' meeting in the Europa League last term.
And Golovin - who is said to be learning English - has continued to impress as he has been one of the brightest stars at the World Cup so far, scoring one and providing two assists in Russia's undefeated campaign to date.
According to Russian outlet Sport Express, Arsenal scouts provided Unai Emery with a report on the 22-year-old, which the Daily Star claim he was duly impressed with and as a result has given the green light to the club to pursue a deal.
However, although the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus have all been linked with Golovin, it is reportedly the club's old boss who is plotting to secure the Russian ace at the expense of his former employers.
Despite stepping down from management the 68-year-old has kept his eye on the leading talents in the game and Russian agent Sandor Varga has said Wenger could move for Golovin should he return to the dugout in the near future.
Asked about the possibility of Golovin signing for Chelsea, Varga said: “I can say the same about Wenger. I asked Arsene about Golovin, the Frenchman said: ‘I do not know what Arsenal will do, but I’ll take him for myself.’
“Arsene wants to work. While there is no certainty, we negotiated with two clubs, but did not come to an agreement. But if Wenger takes [charge of] any team, Golovin will have another option.”