Malcolm has been attracting interest from United and Tottenham Hotspur, but Wenger has snuck ahead in the race by holding talks with his agent this week, according to the Guardian.
The forward is believed to have another offer on the table for a January move, but it has not come from either United or Spurs and Arsenal remain confident of signing him.
However, a move is complicated by his ownership situation.
Bordeaux are demanding nearly £45million for Malcolm, but it’s believed they only own 50% of his economic rights, with the remainder held by several agents.
With Sanchez set for a move to Manchester – whether it be to reunite with former Barcelona boss Alexis Sanchez or to link up with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford – Arsenal should have money to play with, and they had already set up a meeting with Bordeaux to discuss a big-money move.
Bordeaux are thought to be reluctant to sell and in December, Bordeaux president Stephane Martin told L’Equipe: ‘He will not leave this winter.
‘What if we go an immediate loan deal back? I don’t see that being in the interests of the club to do that. We have not spoken about it and it is not something we are working on.’
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