Ever Banega’s agent has flown to London to negotiate the transfer of his client to Arsenal, according to reports in Italy.

TuttoMercatoWeb write that Marcelo Simonian has finished his work in Rome for Javier Pastore, and is now in the English capital to meet with Unai Emery and the Arsenal transfer team. The Italian outlet claims Banega’s family is settled in Spain, and Sevilla don’t want the player to leave, so it won’t be a simple negotiation.

A more positive sign is that the La Liga side are reportedly already trying to sign a replacement for the midfielder.

According to El Diario Vasco, the club are trying to seal a deal for Mikel Merino “to have their backs covered in the event that Ever Banega… or Steven N’Zonzi decide on a change of scenery and go to the Arsenal of Unai Emery, who has shown interest in both”.

On Thursday, Orgullo de Nervion wrote that Arsenal have ‘jumped to the fore’ in the race for the player, and again attributed that largely to the Gunners new head coach. They also revealed that Banega has a €20m release clause with his current club.

The increasingly reliable Kike Marin also wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning that after practically closing the signing of Lucas Torreira, Emery wants to move on to Banega.

The midfielder has all the attributes Jack Wilshere brought to the team at his best. He carries the ball well, he’s a strong passer, and he creates lots of chances for his teammates. He’s also strong in the tackle at the other end of the pitch. Perhaps he could be a good replacement for the departing Englishman. We’ll have to wait and see.