Arsenal sent scouts to Zagreb last week to watch a player dubbed ‘the new Luka Modric’ as Mikel Arteta looks to add yet more creativity to his midfield, according to reports.
The Gunners had a busy summer in which they added a host of talented players to their squad, including Fabio Vieira, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
But Arteta had also wanted to add one more attacking player to his ranks and made a play early in the window for Raphinha, though the Brazilian only wanted to join Barcelona.
Now the north Londoners appear to have tweaked their search and, according to the Mirror, are keeping a very close eye on Rennes attacking midfielder Lovro Majer.
The 24-year-old is capable of playing in a range of attacking positions as well as in midfield and has even been compared to Croatia team-mate Modric in their homeland.
Modric, of course, started his career as an attacking midfielder and moved into a deeper role when Harry Redknapp took over at Tottenham, and Arsenal believe Majer can make a similar transition.
Arteta has played with one more adventurous central midfielder in a freer role this season –
a position currently occupied by Granit Xhaka – and Majer could fulfil that role and be a long-term heir to the Switzerland international.
Arsenal have watched him closely since he moved to Rennes over a year ago and wanted to see him first-hand against high-calibre opposition in the Nations League last week.
The Gunners had scouts in attendance in Zagreb on Thursday evening to watch Majer in action against Denmark, though may have been disappointed initially when he was only named on the bench.
But the midfielder – who is currently donning a face mask – came off the bench late on and scored what proved to be the winning goal moments later, rifling a superb left-footed strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
That was not enough to earn Majer a starting spot in Sunday’s clash with Austria, but is he considered a massive talent by Croatia and will be part of their World Cup squad barring injury.
Rennes spent £10million on the midfielder last summer and are now believed to value him at £44m just 13 months later,
and Arsenal are far from the only club interested in signing him with Barcelona and Real Madrid also keen.