In Brief

Arsenal 'beaten' in race to sign Asier Illarramendi

Liverpool were also after the Real Madrid star, who now seems destined Italy

Have AC Milan nipped in ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool to sign Real Madrid star Asier Illarramendi? And things could turn nasty in north London later this year with the Gunners and Tottenham set to square up over Godfred Donsah, if Manchester City don't get in there first.

• As Arsenal prepare to face Monaco tonight in their Champions League last 16 clash, the Gunners won't be pleased to learn that AC Milan have joined the pursuit of Real Madrid star Asier Illarramendi.

According to the Daily Star Arsenal and Liverpool were expecting to go head to head for the services of the 24-year-old midfielder at the end of the season, but that was before Italian media reported that AC Milan are "interested in signing" the brilliant Bernabeu playmaker. It's believed that the Italian outfit are in pole position to land Illarramendi because of their good relationship with Real president Florentino Perez. The Star quotes super agent Marco Mastrodonato as saying: "Milan is very interested in Asier Illarramendi and could leave Real Madrid at the end of this season."

• Perhaps that's why Liverpool are also being linked with a move for French star Yoann Gourcuff. The Daily Express says that the Lyon midfielder, linked with Arsenal last year, has been instrumental in helping Lyon to the top of the French league and as a result Liverpool and Manchester City are both monitoring his situation across the Channel, as are Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

"The top clubs follow him and know his talent," said Gourcuff's agent Didier Poulmaire, "and I am sure that will come during the next market with offers for him."

• Arsenal are also fending off Spurs and Manchester City as they vie to sign Godfred Donsah from Cagliari – but they may also be thwarted by government immigration rules. Click here for full details of this saga and the rest of the Arsenal transfer news.

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