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Charles Aranguiz: Better than Lucas Silva? Why Arsenal opened talks for Chile's Prince Charles

When it comes to Charles Aranguiz, the question for Arsene Wenger is: Why did it take you so long?

It broke last week that Arsenal and Wenger would be moving for the Internacional midfielder, but it's always been a matter of when, not if, Aranguiz would get his big European move.

The 25 year-old was named last year's best foreign player in the Brasileirao championship, has been selected ahead of recent Real Madrid signing Lucas Silva as the outstanding midfielder in Brazil and has some of South America's biggest coaching names falling over themselves to sing his praises.

"Aránguiz is a piece of inestimable value. He is always ready," says former Inter coach Abel Braga.

"The difference in Aránguiz, with respect to other great players, is that everything becomes simple. He makes no fantasy or does different things in his performance.

"He is an extraordinary player, well above the average."

Diego Aguirre, the current Inter coach, is amazed by Aranguiz's tactical understanding.

"He's a great player," says Aguirre. "Aránguiz has great quality and can play both inside and out, because he understands the tactics of the game.

"Wherever the ball is on the pitch, he is always well positioned where the team needs him."

Brazil coach Dunga is also a fan, having seen the man Chilean football has dubbed 'Prince Charles', every week in action with Inter.

"He s a great player and is having a very good championship," says Dunga.

"I know the people there at Internacional are very happy with him."

Wenger, on advice from Aranguiz's Chile teammate Alexis Sanchez, has had a Gunners scout watch the midfielder since the start of the Brasileirao championship this season. Month-by-month the reports from his talent spotters have become more glowing and more positive, to the point where Wenger has acted in the last week.

The Frenchman has made contact with football investor Delcir Sonda, can reveal, to discuss an end of season deal.

It was Sonda who helped Inter buy Aranguiz out of his contract with Giampaolo Pozzo's Granada. Pozzo's advisers had hoped to eventually place the Chilean with Udinese, but he never actually made it to Europe. Instead he played on-loan with Inter until Sonda's intervention.

Now, Wenger and Sonda are discussing a summer deal worth in the region of £4.75 million and for his part, the chance to play alongside Alexis for club and country could not be more attractive.

Indeed, along with Alexis, Aranguiz has also spoken highly of fellow Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil.

But Arsenal will need to up their bid if they're to convince Inter president Giovanni Luigi to sell.

"Inter paid £4.75 million for him," said Luigi earlier this season. "If someone was to double that, then we'd think about it.

"We will consider any serious offer. But the Chilean is important to us."

It's understood Chelsea made discreet enquiries before Christmas, along with Sevilla, but Arsenal would be the favoured option if Wenger firmed up their interest.

"It was a joy to play with Alexis at the World Cup," Aranguiz said last year. "And to see Ozil on the field. What a player! He is a great."

Of his future, Aranguiz hints he won't seek to force the issue.

"I've stated I'd like to spend many years with Inter," says the midfielder. "But whether I stay or leave, it depends on the directors.

"If I leave, it will be because the directors have made that decision."

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Chris Beattie
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