Arsenal have identified an alternative to Thomas Partey as they begin to admit defeat in their pursuit of the Ghana international.
However, Leeds United are ramping up their efforts to land the midfielder as well, putting a spanner in the works.
Atletico Madrid have no interest in letting Partey go for any less than his release clause, which stands at about £45m.
Mikel Arteta has prioritised a defensive midfielder and another centre-back this summer.
He is desperate to reinvigorate the squad with some strong signings but is finding it tough with restricted funds.
Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira are up for sale to recoup some funds but this is a strange transfer window.
It may be that Arsenal cannot afford Partey – and in that case Arteta must look for alternatives.
And they have already identified one in the shape of Mounir Chouiar of Dijon.
The 21-year-old did not take part in the Ligue 1 match against Brest on Sunday as a transfer away looms.
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Arsenal are in the race for the Frenchman, according to L'Equipe, but Leeds are also in the hunt.
Chouiar only played 20 times last season as the Ligue 1 campaign ended abruptly.
But he impressed in those appearances, so much so that a move now appears to be close – with the Premier League a possible destination.
Arteta is desperate to continue bolstering his squad after the signings of Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes.
As well as Partey and Chouiar, Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar is another player – with the Gunners boss reported being 'obsessed' with the 22-year-old.
Arsenal started the season with a fine 3-0 win over Fulham, which included goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
And in a further boost, Arteta insisted that the Gunners are still active in the transfer market.
"We are still active in the market, we are looking at different options," Arteta said. "At the moment the squad balance is not ideal.
"There is still some work to do. Numbers-wise, some positions are overbooked. Some others, in terms of the specific qualities we need, are still not there."
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