Arsenal appear to be on the verge of landing a top midfield target, though manager Arsene Wenger has not confirmed the move.
The Guardian reported on Spanish star Santi Cazorla being on the verge of signing with the Gunners on Tuesday, though there has been no exact number for the transfer fee. On Wednesday, Daily Mail reported that Malaga agreed to terms with Arsenal over Cazorla.
However, there is still no deal in place, according to Wenger. The long-time Gunner boss has never been accused of being loquacious when it comes to transfer targets, and Wenger decided to use humor when asked about Cazorla following Arsenal's victory over Malayasia, 2-1.
"No [we are not close]," said Wenger. "Maybe we will sign a Malaysian player!"
The fee for Cazorla is assumed to be about £16 million. The 27-year-old winger is comfortable on either flank, and could figure to play a prominent role for the Gunners in 2012-2013. He has 45 appearances with Spain since 2008, and was on both the Euro 2008 and 2012 squads. Cazorla scored nine league goals for Malaga in 2011-2012.
Cash-strapped Malaga apparently have a strong interest in moving Cazorla, as the club added him for a €19 million fee from Villarreal in 2011 and the Qatari-owned club reportedly need to sell off assets. Both Real Madrid and Tottenham have shown interest in the short and speedy Llanera native.
A big question surrounding Arsenal is whether Cazorla is a replacement for Theo Walcott. While the Gunners are making changes this summer, they are still in contract negotiations with Walcott, who has been with the club since 2006.
Arsenal could some help in the midfield as Tomas Rosicky is facing up to two months of inactivity following surgery on his Achilles tendon. Rosicky played with the Czech Republic in Euro 2012, and had a resurgence in the 2011-2012 season with the Gunners.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been linked to French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Tottenham are accusing the Gunners of making a fake offer for the 25-year-old, as the Spurs have shown interest in Lloris as a replacement for Brad Friedel.
The Gunners still have Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski under contract.