LONDON, England, June 18- Arsenal hope to end their nine-year wait to sign Gonzalo Higuain this week by making a club record £22million offer for the striker.
Sportsmail understands the Argentina international has privately agreed to make the switch to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
And the Gunners – who are also confident of keeping Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny ahead of next season – will this week formalise their interest in the Real Madrid star, who has been told he is free to leave the Bernebeu.
Talks between Arsenal officials and Higuain’s representatives have progressed well and it seems all that is left is for the two clubs to agree a price.
In addition to smashing their transfer current transfer record, the £15million paid to Zenit St Petersburg for Andrey Arshavin, Arsenal are willing to make Higuain their top earner on around £150,000-per-week.
The Gunners have kept close tabs on the 25-year-old forward ever since his breakthrough into River Plate’s first-team in 2004.
Arsenal explored the possibility of signing the French-born Argentinian in 2006, but Real Madrid beat them to the punch.
But Wenger’s long wait to work with Higuain now looks set to end this summer.
Arsenal maintain a strong interest in Wayne Rooney and Stevan Jovetic, but the Higuain deal is viewed as the most realistic.
Meanwhile, The Gunners are leading the chase for Spain Under 21 international Asier Illarramendi.
The £10million-rated Real Sociedad defensive midfielder has been outstanding all season and has attracted attention from Real Madrid.
Arsenal have also been monitoring Gilbert Imbula – as revealed in Sportsmail – but Illaramendi would fit well alongside fellow Basque Mikel Arteta.
– Daily Mail