Arsenal and Manchester United are set for a transfer tug of war between now and the end of August.
According to ESPN, the Gunners have joined United in the race to sign Southampton defender Jose Fonte.
The report goes on to claim, that whilst the Red Devils have opened informal talks with the 32-year-old, United boss Jose Mourinho, is having difficulty in sanctioning the deal, because he currently has too many defenders on his books.
United have Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind and Phil Jones as centre-back options, whilst Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rojo can also play in that position if needed.
It is believed that Mourinho is looking to offload Jackson on loan, whilst Marcus Rojo has been made available for transfer.
Whilst Fonte’s preferred destination is reportedly Old Trafford, United’s hesitation could lead to Arsenal stealing a march on their rivals.
The Gunners have lost Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista to long-term injuries, and judging by their defensive performance against Liverpool, a central defender is a necessity between now and the end of the transfer window on August 31.
The North London side are in talks to sign Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi but as of yet a deal has failed to materialise, with the La Liga side holding out for a fee in the region of £30m.
It is understood that Southampton would command a fee of £10m for Jose Fonte, an amount which could be seen as an attractive alternative for Arsene Wenger.