Arsenal have reportedly given up on Lazio’s Stefan De Vrij and are instead said to be targeting Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez.
Sports Illustrated claims Arsene Wenger has admitted defeat in his pursuit of 26-year-old contract rebel De Vrij, who is available on a free transfer this summer.
The Netherlands international is believed to be closing in on a move to Liverpool, seeing him link up with compatriot Virgil van Dijk.
But Arsenal are determined to add a top centre-back to their ranks and have now earmarked Gimenez as the man for the job.
Atletico’s 23-year-old Uruguayan is back in the starting XI after a spell on the bench and has looked sharp under Diego Simeone.
Arsenal are looking to land a suitable replacement for Per Mertesacker, who is retiring at the end of the season.
Players out of contract this summer
Emre Can (Liverpool)
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Luke Shaw (Man Utd)
Marouane Fellaini (Man Utd)
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd)
Ashley Young (Man Utd)
Yaya Toure (Man City)
Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid)
Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid)
Stefan De Vrij (Lazio)
Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Stephan Lichsteiner (Juventus)
Gianluigi Buffin (Juventus)
Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
Pepe Reina (Napoli)
Davide Santon (Inter Milan)
Max Meyer (Schalke)
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Rafinha (Bayern Munich)
Mario Balotelli (Nice)
Joao Moutinho (Monaco)
Hatem Ben Arfa (PSG)
And Gimenez fits the bill perfectly, although the Gunners may have to dig deep to secure his signature.
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The report adds Gimenez could cost upwards of £57million, which is the same price Manchester City paid for Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte.
Atletico are under no pressure to sell after cashing in on Nico Gaitan and Yannick Carrasco’s moves to China.
And with star goalkeeper Jan Oblak signing a new contract, Gimenez may yet to decide to stay put at the Wanda Metropolitano.