Rafa Benitez’s men have long been in the hunt for a new midfielder as they look to improve on their third placed finish last season.
Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons has been heavily mentioned in the Italian press over the past week, and it was looking increasingly likely that the Naples outfit would sign the defensive midfielder ahead of Arsenal.
According to new reports from Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, however, negotiations between the Italians and their French counterparts broke down following a recent meeting.
Napoli sporting director Bigon is said to have done everything possible to make a deal happen, but an agreement couldn’t be reached leaving Arsenal as possible frontrunners for his signature.
The Gunners are in dire need of adding a new defensive midfielder to their ranks, with both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini lacking the pace and strength to succeed against the very best.
Described as strong, quick along the floor and excellent technically, 26-year-old Maxime Gonalons has the attributes to succeed at the Emirates and the €12 million-rated star is well within Arsene Wenger’s transfer budget.
The Italian report goes on to say that Napoli have identified Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian midfielder Sandro as a plan B.
The 25-year-old has been heavily linked with a Spurs exit this summer after making just 10 Premier League starts for the club last season.
His presence at White Hart Lane under new boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to be not needed, who instead seems keen on bringing in another midfielder in the form of fellow countryman Esteban Cambiasso.