The 23-year-old, capped four times by Italy and valued at around £12m, has been reported to be on Arsene Wenger's short-list of possible replacements for the Milan-bound Mathieu Flamini along with Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry and Manchester City youngster Michael Johnson.

Those reports looked well founded after Aquilani's agent, Vincenzo Morabito, told Italia Uno: "Aquilani is speaking to Arsenal. We will have to see if Roma will be able to match his demands."