Victor Lindelof’s imminent arrival at Old Trafford means Jose Mourinho will have a surplus of centre-backs.
Eric Bailly is a guaranteed starter while Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo showed improved form last season.
Which means poor Chris Smalling is likely to be deemed an unnecessary luxury.
Enter Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal are set to pouch for the England international once Lindelof’s transfer from Benfica to United is finalised.
The £31million Swedish defender played for his country against Norway last night and United expect him to jet in to Manchester and complete his medical at Carrington later today.
Smalling will want regular first-team football in the hope of securing a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Arsenal have shown interest in the former Fulham defender before – notably when he joined United in 2010.
The Gunners were also linked with a move two years ago and are closely monitoring his situation again.
The feeling is that Wenger will play three at the back next season – so will need at least one new centre-back.
Mourinho’s relationship with Smalling has been tense for much of the season – with the United boss criticising him for not playing at Swansea in November.
He has two years left on his existing deal and is keen to know where he stands going forward with United.
He also announced recently he has changed agent – which will only increase speculation he could be on the move.