Arsenal are reportedly considering making a £10m offer for Basel defender Fabian Schar, when the transfer window opens in January.
The Gunners entered the season with an overdose of midfielders but shortage of numbers at the back as they chose not to replace Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona in the summer. Injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny then exposed Arsene Wenger's threadbare squad, with teenager Calum Chambers becoming a regular starter and Nacho Monreal moving to an unfamiliar centre-back role.
Arsenal are now expected to bring in a centre-back in January to strengthen their back four, especially with Per Mertesacker showing signs of both ageing and a lack of motivation after retiring from international duty with Germany.
Schar, who has been consistently linked with the Gunners for the last year or so, has now emerged as a strong contender for the vacancy. Reports suggest the north London outfit is convinced the Switzerland international is the ideal signing to solve the club's defensive frailties.
According to Fichajes and the Metro, Arsenal will table a £10m bid for the 22-year-old when the transfer window reopens. And though the figure is below Basel's asking price, the approach could trigger negotiations, with the goal of reaching an agreement in January itself.
The report claims Liverpool, Tottenham, Lazio and Borussia Monchengladbach are all keeping tabs on Schar - with the latter's interest particularly serious - but Arsenal do hold an advantage over their rivals at the moment as the player prefers to join Wenger's side.
Schar had recently admitted that he is interested in a transfer away from Switzerland, in order to join a top European side.
"My dream remains to have an experience abroad. I've always said that if the opportunity presented itself, I would take it, obviously in agreement with Basel," the defender revealed.
"I need a team with important prospects. I'd like the Bundesliga, Premier League or top Italian clubs like Inter, Milan and Juventus. I couldn't say no. I want to hear all my options and consider them carefully. There was some contact in the summer, but nothing serious."
Schar has scored three goals from eight international appearances, and was also part of the Swiss squad for the 2014 World Cup.