Exclusive: Arsenal Plot £9m Man United January Raid as Arsene Wenger Seeks to Strengthen Gunners Squad

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Emirates Stadium side prepare second Old Trafford raid.

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will step up his interest in Man United defender Chris Smalling in January and hopes to successfully conduct a second Old Trafford raid having brought in striker Danny Welbeck on summer transfer window deadline-day.

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Wenger is keen to strengthen his defensive options and had hoped to bring in the former Fulham man but though Louis van Gaal was open to offloading the England man a serious injury crisis meant that the Dutch manager couldn’t consider such a sale in the final stages of the transfer window.

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Arsenal are ready to offer £9m for 24 year old who is currently recovering from a slight groin injury but did start Man United’s opening two Premier League fixtures.

Smalling’s first team chances are likely to become diminished by the arrivals of Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo and if Louis van Gaal makes it clear that he is not a key part of his plans then a return to London may well tempt the adaptable defender.

Wenger finds himself with a lack of central defensive options following the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona but will no doubt have been impressed by the immediate impact made by teenager acquisition Calum Chambers but is still looking to beef up numbers at the back.

Smalling can effectively fill both a central defensive role as well as at right-back and it’s that versatility that will lead to an Arsenal offer for his services.

Louis van Gaal is looking to conduct a major squad overhaul and having sold Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck whilst loaning out Javier Hernandez and Tom Cleverley the Man United boss is ready to make further changes to help make room for new additions and Smalling is apparently a player he is willing to offload.

Man United paid £10m to bring in Smalling from Fulham in July 2010 and has made 115 appearances for the club and has a dozen national team caps to his name.

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