Gunners close in on out-of-favour City youngster.Arsenal look set to make Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic their replacement for Thomas Vermaelen after stepping up their interest in the Serbian youngster.
The Gunners have agreed a fee of £15m with City for the Serbian international, who has been watched by Arsene Wenger in the past after impressing in his time breaking through at Serie A side Fiorentina.
Nastasic has struggled for consistency since moving to the Etihad Stadium, but made a good impression in his first season at the club when he became first choice alongside Vincent Kompany at the back under previous manager Roberto Mancini.
However, Nastasic has since fallen out of favour under Manuel Pellegrini’s time in charge at the club, with the Chilean tactician favouring Martin Demichelis over him last season and spending big money on signing Eliaquim Mangala from Porto in this year’s transfer window.
With this latest signing pushing the 21-year-old potentially down to fourth choice at centre-back, the player has made it known that he would be open to leaving the club, with the Premier League champions happy to accept a bid of £15m from their rivals Arsenal.
Despite putting in a poor display for City in their Community Shield defeat to the Gunners just last weekend, Nastasic has shown enough to Wenger that he can come in and provide competition for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in defence.
Still young, the former Fiorentina starlet has shown that he could develop into a top class centre-half, and a move away from City may be what he needs at this stage of his career, with more opportunities likely to come about at the Emirates Stadium.
The player will now open personal talks with the north London giants over a move, becoming their fifth signing of the summer after further big-name arrivals in Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers.
Chambers has performed well at centre-back in pre-season, but Nastasic’s arrival could mean he is now used in a variety of roles, including possibly defensive midfield after Wenger has failed in his efforts to bring in targets such as Real Madrid star Sami Khedira and Sporting Lisbon starlet William Carvalho.
Talks will continue over the weekend, with the view of Nastasic being unveiled as an Arsenal player next week if he can agree terms with the club.
Juventus had also shown an interest in the defender, but would not meet City’s asking price for him.