Arsenal will have to battle with Manchester United if they hope to sign Per Mertesacker, reports Goal.com.
Werder Bremen are said to have slapped a £20 million price tag on the head of the defender, who has attracted interest from a number of clubs since his commanding displays for Germany at the World Cup.
Arsenal have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old for a number of months and it now appears they will have to fight tooth and nail with United for his signature.
Arsenal are understood to be in the market for defensive reinforcements this month after injury to Sebastien Squillaci left them with just two fit recognised centre-backs in Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou.
"If we only have two centre-backs then that cannot work with the number of centre-backs we have," said the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
"If Squillaci has a problem then we must quickly go out for a player."
Along with Mertesacker, Arsenal have also been linked with surprise swoop for former Gunners star Sol Campbell as well as a move for Ajax ace Jan Vertonghen.
Although not as desperate as Arsenal to bolster their defensive department, Manchester United are thought to be keen on the idea of bringing Mertesacker to Old Trafford.
The German believes his game is perfectly suited to the Premier League and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be considering making a move for Mertesacker during the transfer window.
A more pressing issue for United, however, is the acquisition on a new goalkeeper with current no.1 Edwin van der Sar set to retire in the summer.
Danish stopper Anders Lindegaard has already signed for the Red Devils but Ferguson is on the lookout for at least one more gloveman during January.
“We haven’t finalised our thoughts on the goalkeeping situation," the United supremo said after the signing of Lindegaard.
“Edwin has massive experience and you can’t buy that, so it’s a difficult one because he has been a great goalkeeper and will be hard to replace.”
Current Manchester United no.2 Tomasz Kuszczak has also been tipped to leave Old Trafford in the summer so the Red Devils are expected to step up their pursuit of goalkeeping reinforcements.
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