Arsenal are preparing to offer £18m to activate Ever Banega’s release clause in January, despite the player rejecting them over the summer, according to reports.

Sevilla’s Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega shoots a penalty kick to score a goal during the UEFA Europa League group J football match between Sevilla FC and Standard Liege at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on September 20, 2018. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

El Desmarque write that Unai Emery has ‘made it clear’ he wants Ever Banega in January. Arsenal reportedly asked for the player over the summer, but the midfielder rejected the offer to remain in Sevilla at the time.

With contract extension talks continuing to stall in Spain, he could be open to reconsidering that position. Banega’s current deal lasts until 2020, and though it initially seemed like he’d extend, the updates coming out of the club now suggest they’ve reached an impasse in negotiations.

Banega has an £18m release clause with Sevilla, and El Desmarque write that Arsenal are preparing to pay it. However, they appear to be basing this claim on nothing more than the Daily Star‘s article about the transfer recently.

The Star aren’t the only ones reporting that Arsenal are edging closer to a deal though. In Argentina, Rosario3 report that the Gunners are willing to pay Banega’s release clause, and Argentine journalist Roberto Martinez writes that the midfielder is close to leaving Sevilla for Arsenal at Emery’s ‘express request’.

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BRONNITSY, RUSSIA – JUNE 13: (BACK) Ever Banega of Argentina kicks the ball against (FRONT) Franco Armani of Argentina during a training session at the team base camp on June 13, 2018, in Bronnitsy, Russia. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images)

El Desmarque’s article ends by calling Banega a replacement for Aaron Ramsey. They add that Arsenal are considering Hector Herrera as an alternative option in midfield as Ramsey leaves the club.

Banega is in fantastic form this season. He has eight goals and five assists in 28 appearances from midfield, and he’s been excelling in almost every area as a midfielder: Set pieces, long-shots, dribbling, key passes, finishing, passing and tackling are all listed as strengths based on WhoScored‘s statistical analysis.

At 30 years old, Arsenal would need Banega to adapt to the Premier League quickly. Plus, fans are already raising questions about whether the club should be focusing on other areas of the pitch, such as the wings or the defence. Nonetheless, if Banega brought his current form to England, £18m would be a steal.