Arsenal are reportedly plotting an audacious move for Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic should Thomas Vermaelen leave, according to reports in Daily Mail.
Vermaelen, who has just 12 months remaining on his contract, is expected to leave this summer and United are keen on luring him to Old Trafford in a deal that could be worth around £10 million.
The report states that the Gunners have expressed an interest in Nastasic and Wenger has earmarked him as a possible replacement for our captain. The Serbian international was watched extensively by Arsenal scouts during his time at Fiorentina, but City moved quickly to snap up Nastasic in 2012.
It further states that despite missing out to City last time, the North London club remain keen on Nastasic and are set to revive their interest should Vermaelen leave. It is understood that Wenger would give serious consideration to a player-swap deal with United and may look to include either Smalling or Phil Jones in a deal for Vermaelen.
Nastasic was very impressive during his first season at the Etihad but injury hampered his development last year, and his future at City is now in doubt as the champions are set to sign Eliaquim Mangala from Porto.
The 21 year old already possesses a wealth of Premier League experience. He struggled to assert himself over Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis last season, but has proven himself to be a shrewd reader of the game.
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He is a real battler and can develop into one of the world’s best centre-backs if he is given the opportunity to improve. He could certainly do a job as cover for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, but he’d need to bide his time before regularly making it into the first team.
Vermaelen’s future needs to be sorted quickly to ensure Wenger has plenty of time to weigh up replacements. Nastasic is certainly one of the most talented young defenders in Europe and his development can be aided under the Frenchman, who has a rich history of turning youth into stars. It would finally see the Gunners steal a talent from City after so many players have moved in the opposite direction.
Should we sign him? Share your thoughts in the comments below.