Arsenal are reportedly interested in Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca despite emerging interest from Everton and Milan.
The 23-year-old old has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for Abelardo Fernández's side. Espanyol are currently rooted to the bottom of the La Liga table, six points from safety with 11 games left to play.
Despite his team's plight, Mikel Arteta is understood to be a big fan of the defensive midfielder and is interested in bringing him to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.
According to Spanish source La Razon, Arsenal are leading the race for Roca's signature and they could get a cut-price deal. His current deal expires in 2022 and Espanyol may be tempted to let him depart for less than his €40m (£35.6m) release clause if they are relegated.
Despite the Gunners' strong interest, Everton are understood to be monitoring the situation closely while Milan are also ready to rival Arsenal for his services. Bayern Munich were chasing the Spaniard last summer, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute with a transfer fee agreed.
The Top ? Defensive Midfielders in the world right now. pic.twitter.com/UgBBCAL0Rr— 90min (@90min_Football) March 17, 2020
Roca could even be partnered in midfield by Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey next season. Arsenal continue to view signing the Ghanian as a 'priority', according to Mundo Deportivo. The Gunners have been linked with the all-action midfielder for some months.
A significant factor that will determine if Arsenal can get these deals over the line is whether they secure Champions League qualification this season. Arteta's side currently sit five points adrift of fifth place with a game in hand, though it is against high-flying Manchester City.