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.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Brendan Rodgers is confident that Sterling will put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
tech
News
Not quite what they were expecting
news

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal at the Golden Globes in 2011
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...