By Matt Bullin

Arsenal are set to join Tottenham in the race to sign Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, according to a report.

The Daily Mail reports the Gunners have tabled an interest in the 23-year-old, though Spurs remain the favourites to sign him should he fail to agree a new deal at Goodison Park.

Arsenal’s interest comes as a blow to Tottenham after the London Evening Standard claimed Barkley was one of six players Mauricio Pochettino wanted to sign this summer.

The England midfielder’s availability has been a hot topic of debate following his failure to sign a new deal tying him to Everton.

Barkley was dropped to the bench as his side faced Swansea on Saturday and his contract enters his final year this summer – should he fail to sign, Everton will look to sell him.

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Ronald Koeman has placed a £35million price tag on the midfielder amid interest from Tottenham and Arsenal, with Chelsea and Man City also circling according to the Mail report.

Barkley has made 34 Premier League appearances this season, scoring four goals and laying on nine assists for his team-mates.

Football Insider verdict

Arsenal’s interest will not worry Pochettino too much, because the main reason Barkley seems to want to leave Everton is for Champions League football – something not guaranteed at the Emirates next season. Also Spurs are a exciting club to join at the moment, as they continue to improve and build a world-class side, meanwhile Arsenal are in decline. The only way the Gunners could prise Barkley from Spurs’ hands could be with a higher wage offer. It is known that the White Hart Lane club have a tight wage structure, so if the Gunners could blow their London rivals out of the water if they are desperate to get Barkley.

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