Arsenal scouting £35m Sander Berge – and their own player in Joe Willock

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As a disastrous campaign for Arsenal draws to a close, talk of a mass exodus of playing staff has already begun.

Five of the most senior players in the dressing room, Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, David Luiz, Granit Xhaka and summer recruit Willian are all reportedly keen on calling time on their stints at the Emirates, with the club happy to let all of them leave in a bid to raise funds and rebuild the squad.

In terms of incomings, a number of names have been linked with a move to North London, including Norwegian international Sander Berge, who is unlikely to remain at Sheffield United next season.

One of the few Blades players that can come away from a woeful season at Bramall Lane with their head held high, Berge has a number of Premier League suitors keen to keep him in the division, rather than joining his current teammates in the Championship after Sheffield United's relegation.

Recent reports have suggested Berge could be available to buy for as little as £12m – considering he was signed for £22m last year and has only impressed since joining the Blades, Yorkshire Live have confirmed the news that his release clause actually sits at £35m, as was reported prior to the incorrect £12m claims.

Arsenal, Aston Villa and Everton have all been linked with Berge, but the Gunners may be boast an advantage in the race for his signature given the connection between Berge and Mikel Arteta's assistant Albert Stuivenberg, who was Berge's manager at previous side Genk.

On Sunday, Italian media outlet Tuttosport, reported that AC Milan had 'made contact' with Berge's representatives over the prospect of a bargain £10m deal.

This pricked the ears of fans of numerous Premier League club, who urged their respective sides to enquire about the possibility of pinching Berge on the cheap.

This report may have stemmed from Sky Sports claims that the midfielder's release clause had dropped by £10m from £45m to £35m.

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A recent report from the Athletic revealed the surprising news that Arsenal have also taken the uncommon step of preparing scouting reports on one of their own players in Joe Willock – currently on loan at Newcastle.

The Arsenal academy graduate has been a revelation at St James Park, bagging five goals in 11 appearances, a number of which have been vital last gasp equaliser.

The same report went on to confirm the Gunners interest in Berge, with Arsenal potentially going into next season light in central midfield given Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos are both scheduled to return to parent club Real Madrid.

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