Arsenal 'willing to pay' £52m to seal next January deal as Aston Villa and Chelsea plot bargain Serie A raid

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All of the latest Premier League transfer speculation, involving Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Chelsea.

We begin Thursday's Premier League transfer rumour round-up with an update on Arsenal's apparent pursuit of a new midfielder. The Gunners are understood to be in the market for reinforcements in the centre of the park, and could turn their attention once again to long term target Martín Zubimendi.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Mikel Arteta's men are considering a bid for the Real Sociedad star, and would be willing to pay the £51.6 million release clause written into his contract in Spain. Zubimendi is said to have rejected an approach from the Gunners before, however, and even if a suitable bid was tabled this month, it still remains to be seen whether the player himself could be convinced on a move to North London.

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The 3AM Verdict: Arsenal are still a couple of jigsaw pieces away from being the finished article, and to that end, a new central midfielder to provide an added measure of solidity and control in the engine room would not go amiss. Zubimendi fits that bill, but realistically, it seems unlikely that the Gunners would go out and spend such an exorbitant fee on him at the mid-point of a campaign. Stranger things have happened, but this feels like a speculative one.

Villa eye Illing-Junior

Elsewhere, Aston Villa are reportedly the latest team to express an interest in Juventus winger Samuel Illing-Junior. The 20-year-old Englishman is said to have caught the eye of several Premier League teams this January, with Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton, and Newcastle United among those recently linked with potential approaches.

Now, according to CalcioMercato, Villa are also preparing to throw their hat in the ring for the Englishman, with Unai Emery keen to complete a permanent transfer for the emerging talent. A deal this month could prove to be 'difficult, if not impossible', however, which could mean that any prospective agreement is delayed until the end of the season.

The 3AM Verdict: Illing-Junior is evidently a talent, and it feels like it might only be a matter of time before he shows up in the Premier League. Villa would provide as exciting a project as anybody for the wide man, and if Emery's men are willing to be patient and wait until the summer transfer window, they could bag themselves a wonderful player for years to come.

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Dybala in demand

And finally, a number of Premier League clubs are said to be keeping tabs on AS Roma attacker Paulo Dybala. According to Corriere della Sera, the 30-year-old has a release clause of just £11 million written into his contract in the Italian capital, but that condition expires on January 15th, meaning that any club looking to snap him up quickly.

Indeed, this latest update suggests that Chelsea, Newcastle United, and Aston Villa have all contacted the Argentine's agent in the 'last few hours' with view to pulling off a daring heist in the coming days. Competition will be stiff, however, with several Saudi Pro League sides also eyeing prospective swoops.

The 3AM Verdict: The notion of signing Paulo Dybala for just £11 million is downright crazy. That being said, generally speaking, if something sounds too good to be true it usually is, and to that end, this feels like a piece of idle speculation that will sink without a trace. We'd be more than happy to be proven wrong, though...

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