By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Mathieu Flamini is closing in on move to Galatasaray as he prepares to leave Arsenal for a second time, Football Insider sources understand.
The Turkish club are in advanced talks with the Gunners about signing the midfielder in a deal which would reunite him with former team-mate Lukas Podolski.
Galatasaray are ready to hand Flamini, 31, a three-year contract to entice him to Turkey. In turn, Arsenal are weighing up a move for Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi.
Football Insider first revealed in April that Flamini was heading for the Emirates Stadium exit after plans to hold talks on a contract extension stalled. He was then informed at the end of last season that he could find another club.
Flamini joined Arsenal on their pre-season tour of Asia but the Londoners have been negotiating a severance package with the midfielder to enable him to find another club.
The Frenchman, who turned 31 in March, is increasingly surplus to requirements at Emirates Stadium.
His current deal, which began in 2013, is a ‘two years plus one’ deal, which allows him to be granted a further 12 months beyond this summer if he played in a stipulated number of matches last season.
Flamini made 33 appearances for the Gunners in 2014-15, including 15 Premier League starts, but he has been a fringe player since Francis Coquelin returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic in December to cement his place in Arsene Wenger’s team.
At that point, Arsenal were willing to open negotiations with Flamini on an extension but Wenger handed Coquelin a new contract and is in the market for a proven midfield anchorman this summer to compete with the 24-year-old Frenchman.
The latest player to come on to Wenger’s radar is Illarramendi, who has struggled for game time since joining Real two years ago.
Despite his recent injury problem, Mikel Arteta has signed a one-year contract extension and Wenger also added teenager Krystian Bielik in January.
Flamini spent four years with the Gunners from 2004-2008 before re-joining in 2013 after five years at AC Milan.