Emirates Stadium boss keen to start summer spending early.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly ready to try his luck with a bid for Chelsea youngster Kevin De Bruyne, whom the Blues are likely to sell this summer.
This news comes just a couple of days after the Gunners were also thought to be leading the chase for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, having activated the 25-year-old’s minimum release fee clause of £22million.
Both are rising stars of Belgian football at the moment, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke, Moussa Dembele and Kevin Mirallas also taking the Premier League by storm this season, and both are seen as useful additions by Wenger to his current squad.
De Bruyne has not yet made a single appearance for Chelsea since joining the club from Genk in January 2012, having spent time out on loan at his old club as well as with Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen.
The 21-year-old’s displays in Germany this season have caught the eye of a number of top clubs, with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen making moves to sign him from Chelsea this summer. The Blues are thought to be close to the transfer of Andre Schurrle from Leverkusen, and could be tempted to use De Bruyne in a swap deal to push the move through.
Dortmund are also keen on the Belgian, as they seek a replacement for Bayern Munich-bound Mario Goetze. De Bruyne’s 10 goals and 10 assists playing behind the striker at Bremen suggest he is a similar type of player to Goetze, and also one who might struggle to get into this current Chelsea team, who have the likes of Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar already filling those roles in their attacking midfield.
Despite their apparent lack of need for the youngster, they are unlikely to want to sell to a rival, and will surely turn down an opening offer of £10m from Arsenal, though the clubs have been known to do business in recent times, with the likes of Ashley Cole, William Gallas, Lassana Diarra and Yossi Benayoun moving between the two in the last few years.
De Bruyne may be tempted to work with Arsene Wenger, who is known for giving opportunities to young players and getting the best out of them, though he has also enjoyed his time in the Bundesliga and would understandably favour a chance to continue his development there.
Fellaini would be a priority signing for Arsenal though, as they still lack a physical presence in their midfield following last summer’s sale of Alex Song to Barcelona. Although Fellaini has played a more attacking role at Everton this year, he is a defensive midfielder by trade and it would be a major boost for the Gunners to beat the likes of United and Chelsea to his signature.
These moves show Arsenal truly are ready to compete more in the transfer market, as chief executive Ivan Gazidis suggested earlier this week.