Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila is to hold talks with Arsenal this week, according to the Mirror.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is confident of sealing a £17 million deal for the French international who is also wanted by Inter Milan.
However, M'villa has indicated he would prefer a move to the Premier League.
Wenger wants to lure him to the Emirates on a four-year deal but will not rush in to make an offer until Arsenal clinch a Champions League place.
The Arsenal manager is planning to buy big names this summer having already confirmed the £10.9m signing of Cologne striker Lukas Podolski.
He has also set his sights on Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen as a top summer target as he await a potential £35m European windfall once they clinch third place in the Premier League.
Wenger is renowned for being frugal when it comes to spending on players but having a substantial transfer war chest at his disposal he won't be forced into panic buying unlike last time.
M'Vila is seen as the disciplined defensive midfielder Arsenal need and the 22-year-old has also spoken of his admiration for Wenger.
He would still be willing to come even if Arsenal miss out on the Champions League, though Wenger is likely to be more cautious, according to the report.
Meanwhile, M'Villa's entry may raise question marks over the future of Alex Song, who is being sought by Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan.
Vertonghen is likely to strengthen their squad, despite interest from Spurs and Manchester United.
M'Vila to snub Man Utd for Arsenal
Arsenal are lining up a record £18 million bid for French international Yann M'Vila, according to a report.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is moving swiftly to seal a deal in a bid to fend off interest from Manchester United, the Daily Mirror reported.
Wenger has been tracking the Rennes midfielder for more than a year.
But Arsenal have suddenly swung into action after learning that United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has also come looking for the 21-year-old star.
United have sent scouts to watch M'Vila for the past few weeks and Inter Milan and Bayern Munich have also shown an interest, it added.
But United's interest has been the spur to persuade Arsenal to move in quickly to tie up a deal even before the end of the season.
Arsenal have already agreed a £10m transfer for Cologne striker Lukas Podolski and the German international is a done deal for next season.
M'Vila is the next in and the Frenchman has already indicated that his desire to play for Arsenal will be the biggest factor in his decision.
M'Vila said earlier this month: "If it is Wenger who asks you then of course that changes things."
However, the arrival of M'Vila could throw up a question mark about the future of Alex Song in a midfield already packed with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.