The 24-year-old defensive midfielder will head to Napoli in a six-month loan deal in January before making a permanent £16million move in January after an agreement was reportedly reached last week.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a keen admirer of the French international and has been tracking him since the summer, hoping to eventually bring him to the Premier League. But former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez looks to have won the race to sign the highly-rated starlet.
The player’s agent Frederic Guerra hinted at the move to Napoli only last month but did not rule out a move to another club in Europe.
“I’m talking with Napoli and their sporting director Riccardo Bigon, let’s see what happens later,” Guerra said.
“Maxime is focused to do well with Lyon, this is a fact. It’s normal and good to know that big European clubs take an interest in him.”
Gonalons came through Lyon’s youth system, making his debut in a Champions League play-off game in August 2009, and has since made over 150 first-team appearances for the club, scoring nine goals.
His first professional goal game in a Champions League meeting with Liverpool at Anfield in October 2009.