Arsenal are trying to sign Uzbekistan captain Odil Ahmedov, according to the head of the Asian country’s football federation.
The 23-year-old Pakhtakor Tashkent midfielder is on loan at ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, who signed Brazil legend Roberto Carlos in February.
And Mirabor Usmanov, the president of Uzbekistan Football Federation, claimed Ahmedov’s tough-tackling style had caught the attention of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
‘Such a flattering offer from the English club was possible thanks to the successful performance of the Uzbekistan team at the 2011 Asian Cup, where the Uzbek team finished fourth,’ said Usmanov .
The 6ft player, who has also been used as a centre half, is known for his long-range efforts and scored with a spectacular 30-yard drive in the opening game of the Asian Cup against hosts Qatar in January.
Ahmedov has previously been linked with Bolton, Malaga, Monaco and clubs in the Middle East.
Arsenal’s major shareholder Alisher Usmanov, the Russian businessman who was born in Uzbekistan, is not related to Mirabor Usmanov.