Arsenal are one of several European heavyweights interested in signing Juan Mata on a free when his Manchester United contract expires at the end of the season.
Despite Mata intimating that he is happy at Old Trafford, his negotiations over a new deal have hit an impasse, and barring a change of circumstances it appears that he will leave next summer.
The prospect of a free transfer would certainly appeal to Arsenal, whose budgetary limitations make it difficult for them to compete with other clubs in the transfer market.
The Mirror reports that the Gunners will face competition for Mata's signature from the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, and a return to his former club Valencia has also been touted.
Arsenal hope that Mata's existing relationship with Unai Emery from their time together at Valencia can help to swing the balance in their favour.
Manchester United are reportedly implementing a new policy where they will not sign any players over the age of 28.
The transfer of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal last year may be the reason for this, as the 30-year-old's sell-on value is diminishing with age.
The Manchester Evening News claims that United are still in contract talks with Mata, but they have reached an impasse over the length of the deal. Mata wants at least two years, but United's policy for over-30s is one year at a time.
Recognised as one of the gentlemen of modern football, Mata will be missed if he moves abroad. He has scored 77 goals in over 340 appearances in English football since joining Chelsea from Valencia in 2011.
He has also won six major trophies during his time in England, most notably the 2011/12 Champions League with Chelsea.