As the race hots up to sign a defender by August 31st, Arsenal are lagging behind in their season preparations and are desperate to get something over the line.
And according to sources talking to ESPN, the Gunners have stepped up their pursuit of Southampton’s captain, Jose Fonte, who is also being eyed up by Manchester United.
Earlier this week the latest update from David Ornstein, who has close connections with Arsenal, told us that a deal was stalling for defensive target Shkodran Mustafi.
It’s believed a fee is still yet to be agreed and Arsene Wenger is unwilling to overspend, meaning he’s had to ensure there are back-up options for a position that has to be covered this season.
Step up Fonte, the Portuguese international has been linked with the North London side on one or two occasions, but is now being taken as a serious candidate to partner Laurent Koscielny.
Wenger is keen to make his interest known to the Saints after United stormed ahead in the race to land his signature, with a minimalistic fee of around £10million to contend with.
He’s certainly a cheaper alternative to Mustafi and what he lacks in long-term ability due to his age of 32, he more than makes up for in experience competing in the Premier League.
It’s certainly a transfer that Arsenal fans would be happy with, and he could slot straight into the starting XI to ensure the young legs of Rob Holding don’t have to be relied on.
Fonte has already hinted that a move to a top club playing European football is always tempting, and that he’s flattered by reported interest from the likes of United.
It’s the Manchester side that look to be his favoured destination though, with the chance to work under Jose Mourinho and become a regular in the side being two major factors.
Arsenal wouldn’t be able to provide those assurances, with Chambers already proving himself and Gabriel back in the side in six weeks Fonte could find his position in jeopardy.
He’s used to being the main man in defence and that could well tempt him to stay on with the Saints, who look to capitalise on new manager Claude Puel taking the reigns.