Arsenal are believed to have activated the £23 million release clause of Marouane Fellaini. Arsene Wenger is keen to add the Belgian to his team following the expected arrival of Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
The club have already spoken to the midfielder’s representatives about a £70,000-a-week salary, however he earns £5,000-a-week more at Everton and will not accept a lower wage. Arsenal are expected to increase their initial starting salary as negotiations continue.
Official talks will not start until late next week at the earliest as Arsenal chiefs are currently in Madrid as they try to finalise Higuain’s £22 million transfer. The player has agreed a move to Arsenal on a £130,000-a-week deal. The move for the Argentine will break Arsenal’s current £15 million transfer record that was spent on Andrey Arshavin four years ago.
When that deal is completed, Wenger will turn his attention to his second consecutive record-breaking transfer in Fellaini. The French boss is hopeful that both deals could be completed before Arsenal open their pre-season against an Indonesia XI on 14 July.
Manchester United were expected to make a move for Fellaini following David Moyes move for Everton but are yet to make a bid for the Belgian. Chelsea have also dropped their interest allowing Arsenal a clear run to complete their second big transfer of the summer.
The club are determined to make a strong signal of intent following their meteoric financial rise with the purchase of both Higuain and Fellaini but still remain interested in Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. The England forward will have talks with David Moyes where he will make his decision whether to leave or to stay. Should he decide to leave, Arsenal already have a bid in place which would once again smash the Gunners transfer record for the third time this summer, however they face strong competition from Chelsea.