Arsenal to trigger £35m release clause to sign top European defensive midfielder

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Steven N’Zonzi could be on his way to Arsenal in January after falling out with the Sevilla hierarchy.

He was rumoured to be a target for Arsene Wenger in the summer and was picked out as potential bargain by supporters keen to see their club snap up another defensive midfielder capable of playing the holding role alongside or instead of Granit Xhaka.

At £35million his release clause remains relatively low considering his recent form and experience.

Prior to joining the LaLiga club, N’Zonzi was a Premier League regular with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.

The midfielder’s previous associations in England has lead to some fans overlooking his qualities both with and without the ball.

Yet after starring in midfield and defence for Jorge Sampaoli during his one year in charge of Sevilla last season the 28-year-old is finally receiving acclaim for his performances.

Big and strong and good on the ball he could be exactly the sort of protective ball-player that the Gunners appear to lack at times in the middle of the park.

According to Spanish sports daily AS, N’Zoni’s relationship with coach Eduardo Berizzo has broken down with the Frenchman storming off the pitch at half-time in his side’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool in the last round of the Champions League group stage.

He eventually left the stadium altogether with his side 3-0 down at the break and has since accused his manager of favouritism before skipping training the following day.

Sevilla are said to be aware of the financial implications of keeping an unhappy player on the books and the midfielder reportedly wanted to leave the club during the summer.

A quick sale to secure his value could be on the cards although with a release clause set at £35million, or €40million, it is unlikely that he would be sold for much less than the advertised price.

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