Arsenal have been tracking Fulham star Tom Cairney as a surprise target to bolster their homegrown quota.

But the midfielder could prove too costly for the Gunners, who are assessing their approach in the transfer market.

Unai Emery’s recruitment team is led by Sven Mislintat, who joined the club last November.

Since then, Arsenal have broken their record transfer fee to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £56m from Borussia Dortmund.

And despite a limited budget in the summer following Arsene Wenger’s departure, five first-team players were still signed.

None are classed as homegrown players, though, and Arsenal are seemingly steering clear of expensive British-based talent.

Scotland international Cairney, 27, has emerged as a player of interest to the Gunners.

Cairney’s goal at Wembley in May clinched promotion to the Premier League for the Cottagers as they beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the Championship Play-Off final.

Injury has disrupted his start to life in the top flight, with Cairney making just five Premier League appearances and completing 90 minutes just once.

But Arsenal recognise the midfielder’s quality and will need reinforcements when Aaron Ramsey leaves on a free at the end of the season as his contract is running down.

Cairney could be seen as a similar player to the Welshman, however, his cost may prove prohibitive.

The captain at Craven Cottage only signed a new five-year deal in July following a pursuit from West Ham earlier this year.

Arsenal’s London rivals were linked with a move as the Hammers saw a £20m bid rejected in June and an £18m offer snubbed back in January.

Even before the new contract was penned, Fulham were said to have slapped a £30m price tag on their skipper.