Out-of-favor Argentine striker Mauro Zarate may yet be Arsene Wenger's surprise "super quality" signing of the summer, as reports have emerged suggesting the mercurial forward's manager is willing to negotiate with the Gunners following his exclusion from the squad.
Arsenal are said to be in the market for an attack-minded marquee signing, one that would help lift spirits while contributing towards a push for silverware in what has turned into a turbulent era at Emirates.
The news comes amidst speculation suggesting that Zarate, 24, didn't actually have the flu, and was purposely left out of Lazio's squad that comprehensively beat FK Rabotnicki 6-0 during their Europa League encounter on Thursday night. His exclusion enables him to avoid being cup-tied in Europe, which would undoubtedly complicate any potential deal.
"I do not want to talk about Zarate," Lazio manager Edoardo Reja said after the win when asked by talkSPORT about the Argentine's exclusion. "He had flu and I have so many alternatives, the discussion is closed. I will not make statements about his brother [Zarate's agent].
"Zarate is part of the group, is a key player. We will evaluate any offers, but nothing has changed and his turn will come."
Zarate is believed to have fallen down the club's pecking order following the arrival of German veteran Miroslav Klose and Frenchman Djibril Cisse and is reportedly keen on making a switch in order to secure first-team action.
The Argentine forward has already once played in the Premier League when on loan at Birmingham during the latter half of the 2007-2008 season. He made 14 appearances in front of the St. Andrew's faithful, scoring four goals in the process.
Zarate has so far clocked up more than 100 appearances at Stadio Olimpico, in which he scored 25 goals including a brace that helped Lazio win the Coppa Italia in 2009.