ARSENAL are closing in on a £40m deal for Leicester star Youri Tielemans.
But Real Madrid would be waiting to pounce on the Belgian midfielder if the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League.
However, the players’ camp and the Emirates club are increasingly convinced that Tielemans will be an Arsenal player next season.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wants to improve the quality and depth of his midfield options this summer.
Tielemans would be an upgrade from both Granit Xhaka, whose future at the Emirates is uncertain, and Mohamed Elneny, whose contract expires this summer.
Leicester are almost resigned to selling the man whose goal won them the FA Cup last season.
Tielemans, 25, has turned down offers for a new contract and his current deal has just over a year to run.
The Foxes would rather cash in now than risk losing the player for nothing.
Manchester United were also heavily linked with Tielemans, but their chances of winning the race to sign him faded as their challenge for a top-four spot crumbled.
Tielemans, whose former clubs are Anderlecht and Monaco, has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football.
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If Arsenal are able to offer that next season, it is increasingly likely that they will get their man.
Tielemans was in action on Thursday night as the Foxes were knocked out of the Europa Conference League.
He has made 154 appearances for Leicester, including 46 this season.