The new head coach at Sevilla wants Steven N’Zonzi to stay at the club, but has reportedly lined up a replacement for the midfielder.
N’Zonzi had fallen out with the previous Sevilla boss, but the arrival of Vicenzo Montella has sparked hope the Frenchman could chose to stay.
The 29-year-old was a stand-out performer last season for Sevilla, but has played just ten La Liga games this season and has sat out the last five league matches.
N’Zonzi has been linked with a return to the Premier League with Arsenal and Everton mooted as potential suitors.
Marca claim Montella believes he can still convince N’Zonzi to stay, but have lined up Swansea midfielder Roque Mesa as his replacement.
Sevilla have not made any move to sign Mesa, but Montella has opened talks with N’Zonzi about remaining in Spain.
‘I’ve talked to him and I’ve seen him willing to be a part of the team,’ Montella told reporters on Tuesday.
‘But I do not know if it’s going to be like that for the whole season – I can’t get into his head.
Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures
Chelsea (H) – Wed Jan 3
Nottingham Forest (A) – Sun Jan 7 (FA Cup)
Chelsea (A) – Wed Jan 10 (EFL Cup)
Bournemouth (A) – Sun Jan 14
Crystal Palace (H) – Sat Jan 20
Chelsea (H) – Wed Jan 24 (EFL Cup)
Swansea (A) – Tues Jan 30
Everton (H) – Sat Feb 3
Tottenham (A) – Sat Feb 10
‘He is fine, he has trained well and is a great footballer. I don’t like to give the line-up the day before a game, I like that to be known first by the players, but he is available for tomorrow [Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash with Cadiz] and for the derby [against Real Betis on Saturday].’
N’Zonzi fuelled rumours of a switch to Arsenal when he was spotted at Gatwick Airport when he should have been training with his team-mates.
Sevilla confirmed N’Zonzi was on special leave and was granted permission to travel to London.
Arsene Wenger has been linked with a host of players in recent weeks, but the biggest transfer story at Arsenal this January will be whether Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez stays at the club.
The attacking duo are both out of contract in the summer and have been linked with moves to Premier League rivals.