Arsenal Target Move to Strengthen Back Line With £20.2m Move for Defensive Pair

Arsene Wenger keen to bring Ajax pair to the Emirates Stadium.

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Arsenal are planning a double Dutch swoop for Ajax pair Jan Vertonghen and Maarten Stekelenburg in the summer, UK can reveal.

Manchester United revealed last month that Holland No.1 Stekelenburg is top of their list to succeed Edwin van der Sar when he hangs up his gloves at the end of the season.

Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the 28-year-old and is still pursuing an established goalkeeper despite the startling assurance displayed by 20-year-old Wojciech Szczesny since replacing the injured Lukasz Fabianski two months ago.

Stekelenburg’s contract expires in 2012 and Ajax accept that the next transfer window will be the time to cash in on a player who joined them at 15 and whom they value at between €10 million and €12m.

Arsenal have also been closely monitoring Stekelenburg’s club colleague Vertonghen, who has told Ajax that he wants to move to the Premier League this summer.


Some Arsenal supporters are probably nervously hoping that neither Laurent Koscielny or Johann Djourou don’t get a significant injury in the run in as the Gunners look to keep up their chase on four fronts with a threadbare defensive contingent. Thomas Vermaelen is still out with a long term injury and Sebastian Squillaci has looked out of sorts and has a few injury issues of his own, leaving Wenger wondering if he shouldn’t have brought in reinforcements last month.

The Emirates boss has been linked with moves to raid financially stricken Ajax quite a bit and even though the Eredivisie club has sold Luis Suarez to Liverpool they apparently still need to balance the books and the success of any move for either Dutch international keeper Stekelenburg or Belgian centre back Vertonghen will depend greatly on whether Frank de Boer can guide his side back into the title race and at the very least seal a Champions League spot for next term.

The pair are thought to be valued at €24m (£20.2m) and money wouldn’t be an issue for the North London club who are financially secure and may well feel the need to invest in their squad come the summer.

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