Arsenal have made preliminary moves to sign combative midfielder Claudio Yacob from Argentina's Racing Club, and could snap up the player on a free transfer in the summer.
An enquiry over the player's availability was made at the end of last week, with manager Arsene Wenger thought to be in the market for an inexpensive option to help bolster his midfield.
Yacob, 24, is out of contract in June and the Buenos Aires club would be willing to offload their high-earning captain in an attempt to trim down the wage bill as they look to cut costs.
Comparisons with former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano are inevitable given their similarly snappy, confrontational approach to the position known in Argentina as the number 5 role.
Despite helping his country to glory at the Under-20 World Cup in 2007, Yacob has made just two appearances for the full squad, scoring one goal, although any bid for a work permit should be aided by his Italian passport.
Arsenal's current campaign has been derailed by long-term injuries to the likes of Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere.
And with the latter pushing to take part in both the European Championships and the Olympics this summer, where he could be joined by Aaron Ramsey, Wenger will no doubt be keen to bulk up the numbers ahead of next season.