Arsenal have reportedly earmarked Javier Mascherano as a possible replacement for Patrick Vieira if the French midfielder does join Real Madrid.

Macherano, 20, starred in the same holding midfield role that Vieira currently occupies with the Gunners in the Copa America earlier in the month.

However, Arsene Wenger will be able to take a closer look at him when Argentina attend the Olympics in Athens.

River Plate, Mascherano’s present club are understood to be seriously considering an bid from Arsenal, but club director Mario Israel stated that: “Mascherano is a very talented footballer, and any offer must appreciate that he has ability beyond his years.”

Mascherano enjoyed a successful past year, helping River to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, and Argentina to the final of the Copa America.

Arsenal are looking further afield after being rebuffed in their attempts to sign Maniche from Porto.