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Arsenal's interest in Nuri Sahin key to Real Madrid's Luka Modric move

Spanish champions are hoping Arsenal move for the Turkish midfielder to free up a squad space for Croatia's Modric.

Nuri Sahin played only four league games for Real Madrid last season and could move to England for more action. Elisa Estrada / Real Madrid via Getty Images
Nuri Sahin played only four league games for Real Madrid last season and could move to England for more action. Elisa Estrada / Real Madrid via Getty Images

Real Madrid are encouraging Arsenal's interest in Nuri Sahin as the Spanish champions seek to make space in their squad for the acquisition of Luka Modric.

The Turkey international has been monitored by Arsenal both before and following his transfer from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Sahin, 23, struggled to adapt to Real's transition-based football during his first season at Santiago Bernabeu, tending to overplay the ball in midfield and ending up with just four Primera Liga appearances.

Florentino Perez's decision to prioritise the purchase of Modric, the Tottenham Hotspur in the summer transfer window has placed the midfielder on the market once more.

Tottenham's proposal that Sahin be included in the latter deal has foundered on the Turk's reluctance to join them. Arsenal may prove a more attractive proposition due to their Uefa Champions League status and long-standing admiration of the player, and Jose Mourinho, the Real coach, is ready to sanction a move.

"I want to be honest and Sahin is living in this grey zone because the market is open," said Mourinho yesterday.

"If the possibility arises for him to go to another place it would be better for him to leave and to be able to have more minutes on the pitch."

While Arsenal have also been working on bringing Santi Cazorla in from Malaga, the Spanish club are resisting a sale and are expected to receive the cash injection required from their Qatari owner to retain the unsettled Spain international.

Cazorla's buyout clause prohibits a forced purchase from Arsenal, who are working on moving surplus players out before adding to their squad.

"We are not signing anybody at the moment - we are not close," said Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager on the Gunners' pre-season tour of Asia. "In the future you never know."

Wenger is also standing firm on the sale of Robin van Persie, who announced his intention not to extend his Arsenal contract earlier this month having provisionally agreed terms on €13 million (Dh59m)-per-season deal at Manchester City earlier this year.

Though Sir Alex Ferguson admitted making a bid for the Dutch international last week, and Juventus have also aggressively pursued Van Persie's transfer, Wenger said his club "have no offers, so he is our player. That is it".

"And for the rest, I do not think that there is any more need to talk about it."

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