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Arsenal make contact with Montolivo over move from Milan

Arsenal are rivalling Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund for the signature of AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo, according to the player’s agent.

Italy midfielder Montolivo, 29, has 57 caps for his country and possesses vast experience of European competition, both from his time at the San Siro and with former club Fiorentina.

The Gunners, who drifted out to 20/1 shots for the Premier League title after losing to bogey team Stoke City, have a wealth of options in the engine room, but are missing several through injury.

Arsene Wenger is now without Jack Wilshere for a period of six to eight weeks after he broke a bone in his left foot on international duty with England. He joins Aaron Ramsey, Kim Kallstrom and Abou Diaby on the treatment table.

Giovanni Branchini, Montolivo’s agent, confirmed rumoured interest from Arsenal, but also raised doubts about a summer switch from Milan. “[They] have had a difficult season so far and I think I can say Riccardo has been one of the brightest notes,” he said.

“He [Montolivo] became a fixture of the Rossoneri and was even given the captain’s armband as proof. He is very happy with the club to which he belongs, and the club and fans are very satisfied with him.

“He has a contract until 2016, so it is not a priority to talk about an extension. There have been tentative enquiries from Atletico Madrid, [Borussia boss Jurgen] Klopp and Arsenal, to name a few.

“All were trying to ascertain whether the ‘path’ to Montolivo was feasible. At the moment, however, I feel it would be very difficult for the player to leave Milan.”

Montolivo has a German mother, so, if Clarence Seedorf cannot steer the Rossoneri into a European place for next season, a move to the Bundesliga may prove tempting for him.

Dortmund are likely to face another summer of strong interest in deep-lying playmaker Ilkay Gundogan, despite his back problems this season. Montolivo would be an experienced replacement for Klopp.

In similar fashion, Atletico (now 16/1 to win La Liga this season) could face a fight to keep hold of Koke. Both he and Gundogan have been linked with Manchester United in recent months.

Up next for the Gunners is an FA Cup quarter-final with Everton. Arsenal are 3/1 to go all the way and lift the trophy. Wenger’s side are odds-on for victory at the Emirates at 17/20 and to qualify for the semis at 4/9.