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Arsenal are keeping a close eye on Croatian starlet Alen Halilovic and could irritate their north London rivals Tottenham by making a move for the youngster in January.

Tottenham have been heavily linked with a move for Halilovic with reports suggest that a deal was close to completion both in the summer and more recently.However, there are conflicting reports about the reason that the deal with Spurs fell through.

Halilovic’s agent Shay Chen insists that current club Dinamo Zagreb are demanding too high a fee for the 17-year-old but the alternative reports suggest that the player’s father may be blocking a move by demanding guarantees about playing time.

Reports of a deal to send Halilovic to CSKA Moscow as a replacement for Keisuke Honda have proved unfounded and there has likewise been no confirmation of suggestions that the youngster may have agreed to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

Indeed, concerns about playing time could yet scupper the move any move to Bayern – just as it did to Spurs, who wanted to blood Halilovic in their youth team – with Franck Ribery, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Javi Martinez all seemingly blocking the path to the first team in Munich.

And reports suggest that that has given Arsenal hope that they may yet be able to snatch Halilovic out from under their north London rivals’ nose.

The Gunners however are unlikely to be able to offer any greater guarantees about playing with Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta on the books at the Emirates – but remain optimistic that Arsene Wenger’s reputation for youth development could yet swing a deal in Arsenal’s favour.

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