Arsenal have stepped up their interest in signing of £44m-rated midfield maestro

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Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their interest in securing services of Calgiari playmaker Nicolo Barela.

The Italian midfielder has long been touted as a target for Arsenal’s direct Premier League rivals Chelsea, as Maurizio Sarri sees him as an ideal replacement for Cesc Fabregas following his January move to AS Monaco.

Chelsea are believed to have had a £44m bid rejected for Barella during the January transfer window, and Arsenal are believed to be clear favourites to lure Italian midfielder at Emirates Stadium.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the Norht London club have watched the Italy international up close in Cagliari’s 2-1 victory over Seri A giants Inter Milan on Friday evening.

Barella missed a late penalty in that surprise win for his side, leaving him on one goal and two assists for the campaign.

Cagliari supposedly want £44m for their academy product and Arsenal are believed to have less than that for the summer transfer window.

Meanwhile, Unai Emery has been given green light to sign €22m-rated Colombia international midfielder Juan Quintero as a replacement for Mesut Ozil who is likely to leave the club after the end of the current campaign.

Ozil has around £350,000 a-week salary and the Gunners are keen on to get rid of him.

According to Don Balon, the Gunners have now identified Juan Quintero as their top target this summer.

The Spanish outlet reported that Unai Emery is happy with adding Denis Suarez, but it’s not enough and planning to sign Quintero and told he has the right temperament to be a successful signing at the North London club.