Arsenal's Flamini set for Milan as Hleb mulls Inter move

Mathieu Flamini has dashed Arsenal's faint hopes of keeping him by agreeing to join Milan, while the Premier League club face a crunch meeting over Alexander Hleb's future later this week.

The signs are that Arsene Wenger will be shorn of half his first-choice midfield - and two of his best performers this season - with Hleb having been offered a huge four-year contract by Internazionale, Milan's city's rivals, which he is keen to sign.

The loss of the pair would be a severe blow to Wenger who has set Flamini a deadline of the end of this month to decide his future after making what he described as a "decent" improved offer. The 24-year-old French midfielder's present contract runs out on 30 June and, despite Arsenal's efforts, he has been offered far more by Milan and Juventus.

It had appeared that Juve were the favourites to sign Flamini but they have been out-bid by Milan who are willing to pay him four million euros a year - a million more than was an offer from their rivals - which includes a significant signing-on fee spread over a five-year contract. They have ear-marked Flamini as the eventual replacement for Gennaro Gattuso - which is ironic considering the midfielder was nicknamed after the Italian by his Arsenal team-mates.

Over the weekend Carlo Ancelotti went public on Milan TV - the club's own television channel - to speak of his admiration for Flamini, especially after the way he performed against the European Cup holders in the Champions League tie earlier this season. Flamini - whose father Roland is Italian and has relatives in Rome - is free to talk to other clubs because his contract has almost expired. He has made clear that he wants to accept a more lucrative offer than has been tabled by Arsenal, especially as Flamini has felt under-valued at the Emirates for some time. Wenger has urged Flamini not to leave Arsenal just for a "few bucks" but that kind of comment will not be well-received by his player.

Hleb, who is 27 next month, has been offered an impressive four-year deal by Inter, but will hold talks with Arsenal this week. He is understood to be concerned that, after so much promise this season, it is now the third campaign in a row that Arsenal have failed to win a trophy. Much to Wenger's annoyance, the Italian champions have openly declared their interest in the Belarussian who joined Arsenal from Stuttgart in July 2005. He has two years left on his present deal but article 17 of FIFA regulations would allow him to leave for a fixed fee, likely to be significantly less than the £11.2m Arsenal paid for him.

The situation presents Wenger with a major headache. His team face bottom club Derby County away tonight with Flamini a doubt because he has not fully recovered from an ankle injury. Wenger may have a league debut to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski who, he said, will vie with Manuel Almunia for the club's number one slot next season.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little