After losing Laurent Koscielny to yet another long-term injury at the back end of last season, new Arsenal manager Unai Emery immediately made defensive recruitment a key part of his transfer policy, bringing in Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund.
However, Lazy Fan Sports can exclusively report that Emery is not yet satisfied with his defence going into the start of the new Premier League season and that one of their transfer targets is currently at longtime rivals Manchester United.
Chris Smalling was not a first-team regular under Jose Mourinho and as a result the former Fulham centre-back missed out on a place in England’s World Cup squad this summer which made it all the way to the semi-finals.
United are prepared to let Smalling leave at a discounted rate in this market and have been linked with a multitude of big money centre-back signings such as Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Barcelona’s Yerry Mina and the club may very well view the sale of Smalling as a key part of forcing through one of those potential deals.
As an experienced, English centre-back with top-flight experience, Arsenal may well have some competition on their hands and recently promoted side Wolves have already made a bid for the 28-year-old. However, should Arsenal submit an official bid for Smalling, they may well be able to lure him to the Emirates.
Former manager Arsene Wenger reportedly held Smalling in high regard and even though the 68-year-old Frenchman has now departed the club, his opinions still hold a lot of weight in the Arsenal boardroom and his admiration for Smalling has rubbed off on some members.
At this stage, a deal to bring Smalling to the Emirates is far from certain but the club definitely holds some interest and Manchester United are willing to sell so this is a transfer which we may very well see happen before the end of the window.